Which Response Scale is Best for 360 Degree Feedback Evaluations?

Written by Explorance.

In a previous post, we outlined six guidelines to help you develop effective 360 degree survey questions. That post brought up an interesting question: which response scale is best for 360 evaluations?

There have been several research studies on this topic. The ultimate conclusion is that a variety of response scales work for 360 reviews. However, it is important to match the response scale to your survey’s purpose. If the goal of your evaluation is for employee development you’ll want your response scale to reflect that. Also, make sure you select a 360 degree feedback system that allows you to tailor your rating scales to the type of evaluation.

Commonly used response scales for 360 degree feedback:

  1. Development scales:

    These scales are used to rate effectiveness and focus on how skilled an individual is at a particular competency. Organizations use these scales to evaluate employees and identify needs for the purposes of creating individual development and training plans.

    • Development scale example: 5-exceptional strength 4-strength 3-fully competent 2-development need and 1-significant development need.
  2. Competence scales:

    These scales measure how competent an individual is at a particular skill. Companies use competence scales to identify strengths and areas for improvement for the purposes of employee development.

    • Competence scale example: 6-outstanding 5-very strong 4-competent 3-underdeveloped 2-not developed and 1-does not apply.
  3. Frequency scales:

    These scales are used to rate how often an individual is observed performing a certain skill or behavior. Frequency scales are useful to evaluate if strengths are over or under used. These scales are particularly useful for improvement as they can unearth strengths to utilize more in the future (or behaviors to limit).

    • Frequency scale example: 6-always 5-usually 4-often 3-sometimes 2-rarely and 1-never.
  4. Agreement scales:

    These scales are used to evaluate the extent that a rater agrees with a behavior or skill statement in the survey. Use agreement scales with caution as research has shown that they can produce positive response bias. Positive response bias is a natural tendency for participants to agree with all statements regardless of the content.

    • Agreement scale example: 5-strongly agree 4-agree 3-neither agree nor disagree 2- disagree 1-strongly disagree.

Whatever response scale you choose remember to always match it to your survey questions and competencies.


360 degree feedbackCompetency developmentSurveys

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