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Performance Measurement and Rater Bias

Updated on January 12, 2017

Review the Performance Management article and then answer the following questions:

  • How often is your performance evaluated on the job and by whom?
  • Do you benefit from the evaluation methods of your supervisor/company?
  • What would you change (if anything) and why? If you do not currently have a job, share an ideal performance evaluation plan.

I am currently employed at an elementary school in an after school counselor position. My performance is evaluated twice a year by the afterschool director and assistant director. These performance evaluations happen once in the middle of the school year and once about a month before the end of the school year. The performance evaluation consists of me going to the afterschool office where the director and assistant director go over my performance review. The performance review is a piece of paper with the different categories that I am evaluated on with a score of 1 to 10. I then read the review and sign off on it. The director and assistant director normally ask if there is any part of my review that I disagree with, my goals for the year, and which goals that I have achieved from the previous performance evaluation. So far I have received full scores in all areas, however, I have been told that if a counselor does not have a full score then the director and assistant director work with that counselor to improve in the area(s) in which they had a low score.

I find the current evaluation method beneficial because it allows employees to understand which areas they are strong/weak in. The evaluation also gives counselors the opportunity to work with either the director or assistant director individually to improve upon areas in which they are struggling. The current method works well because the program consists of less than 50 employees; the current performance evaluation method would not be feasible with a large number of employees. I would not remove any elements from the current performance evaluation because it has good methods of employee development and it is efficient in learning about employee motivation and satisfaction levels. However the current performance evaluation lacks the elements of reward and promotion (Landy & Conte, 2013). In some ways this makes sense because the after school counselor program is consider a temporary position, however. the program could increase employee motivation if they added in a reward or promotion system for employees who receive high scores on their performance reviews.


Landy, F. J., & Conte, J. M. (2013). Work in the 21st Century: An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 4th Edition.

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. (2015). Performance Management. Retrieved 13 December 2015.

What are the key things to consider when rating employee behavior so as to avoid (or reduce) bias?

A rating bias is a wide variety of distortions in performance appraisal ratings; this is different from rating errors in the sense that bias refers to the systematic effect of some irrelevant variable on the mean rating while a rating error is an actual error, but it can also be caused by a rating bias (Murphy, n.d.). While rating bias does happen there are ways to avoid and reduce appraiser bias. Before being allowed to perform performance appraisals employees should undergo psychometric training; psychometric training educates appraisers in common rating errors like central tendency, leniency/severity, and halo effect in order to reduce the likelihood of the appraiser having these biases (Landy & Conte, 2013).

The central tendency error occurs when appraisers decide to play it safe by rating all employees as average performers so as to avoid giving anyone a high or low rating (MSG, n.d.). The leniency/severity error occurs when the appraiser allows their personal bias towards leniency or strictness to influence the way that they that they rate the employees; this error causes employees to be given ratings that are either higher or lower than they deserve. The halo effect is when a person is appraised on the sole basis of a positive quality, feature, or trait perceived by the appraiser.

Appraisers should also receive frame-of-reference (FOR) training to help avoid and reduce their biases when rating employees. Frame-of-reference training is based on the belief that an appraiser needs a context for providing a rating. This training involves: “providing information on the multidimensional nature of performance, ensuring that raters understand the meaning of anchors on the scale, engaging in practice rating exercises, and providing feedback on practice exercises” (Landy & Conte, 2013, p 224).

In order to prevent rating bias and errors it is important that all appraisers are taught about the different rating biases and errors. Once the appraiser is aware of the possible biases and errors it is easier for the appraiser to avoid those biases and errors. Appraisers should evaluate any aspects of their personality that would cause a bias during a performance appraisal and then make sure to remain aware of the potential bias during their evaluation. When the appraiser finishes his or her appraisal, they should review it for any possible biases before submitting it. To further reduce the possibility for bias or error each employee could be appraised by two different appraisers; if the mean scores of the two appraisers are markedly different then it is possible one of the appraisers was either biased or made an error. In this situation a third appraiser could be brought in to discover which appraiser was the one who either had a bias or made an error.


Landy, F., & Conte, J. (2013). Work in the 21st century: An introduction to industrial and

organizational psychology (4th ed.). Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell

MSG. (n.d.). Performance Appraisal Biases. Retrieved December 14, 2015, from

Murphy, K. (n.d.). Blackwell Reference Online Rating Bias. Retrieved December 14, 2015, from



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