Taking it to the field with camp bear paw


Although this chapter primarily discusses rating formats, errors, and training, performance appraisal also depends heavily on appropriately defining the criteria/criterion, as discussed in Chapter 4. Jia Xiang, who is the director of Camp Bear Paw, a youth summer camp, is seeking advice on how to evaluate her camp counselors. Please read her e-mail and then respond to her questions, carefully considering both the content and the format of her measure.


Thank you for being willing to lend your expertise on this project. I had a meeting with the leadership and the counselors to come up with a list of things we believe are important qualities of counselor performance:

  • Watchful: Look out for problems so they can be prevented rather than addressed after they occur.
  • Self-motivated: Don’t need to be told what to do and proactively seek out ways to help.
  • Fun: We find that if someone is willing to be creative and engaging they do well.
  • Firm: Need to be willing to say no and to keep kids in line if they are doing something dangerous or inappropriate.
  • Fair: Don’t play favorites with the kids, and keep disagreements with fellow counselors professional and private.

Can you draft a 10-item performance appraisal to use with our counselors? I’d also be interested in your thoughts about what rating scale we should use. In the past, we’ve used a 1 (very poor) to 5 (excellent) rating scale, but nearly every counselor gets a 4 or a 5, so it hasn’t been very useful.

Thank you!

Jia Xiang

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