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Behaviorally-anchored rating scale (BARS)


Employee or trainee rating system in which they are graded according to their display or
absence of specific behavioral patterns.


Definition of behaviorally anchored rating scales

• This method used to describe a performance rating that focused on specific behaviors or
sets as indicators of effective or ineffective performance.
• It is a combination of the rating scale and critical incident techniques of employee
performance evaluation.

Classification of behaviorally anchored rating scales:

• Behavioral observation scales

• Behavioral expectations scales

• Numerically anchored rating scales

Rating scales

Each behavior can rate at one of 7 scales as follows (you can set scales depend on your
• Extremely poor 1 points)
• Poor 2 points)
• Below average 3 points)
• Average 4 points)
• Above average 5 points)
• Good 6 points)
• Extremely good 7 points)

Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales
Law & Legal Definition

A behaviorally anchored rating scale (BARS) is an appraisal method that measures

behavior against levels of performance. BARS combine elements from critical incident
and graphic rating scale approaches. The supervisor rates employees according to items
on a numerical scale.

BARS uses judgmental measures developed to define the rating points in relation to
actual work behaviors. Steps in the process include:

• Generation of critical incidents (examples of effective and ineffective behavior).

• Refinement of the critical incidents and the creation of performance dimensions
(the overall qualities defined by specific critical incidents).
• Verification check of the relationship of critical incidents to performance
• Rating of the effectiveness of each incident as evidence of one’s performance on
the dimension.
• Assembling the final BARS form, often a 10-point scale constructed for each of
the performance dimensions and placement of critical incidents in the scales.

Advantages and disadvantages of behaviorally

anchored rating scales:


• Ratings are not easily subjected to different interpretations of raters.

• It meets EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) guidelines for fair

employment practices, since job criterion for assessment are derived form actual
job performance and are related to it.
• Based on samples of actual behavior
• More effective behavior identified for training.
• Instruments used by those who helped to develop it. (R-4)
• A more accurate gauge.
• Clear standards.
• Feedback
• Independent dimensions.
• Consistency (R-5)

• Requires observational skill and proper determination of critical behaviors;
inadequacies can lead to misleading data.
• Compilation of critical behaviors takes considerable time and effort , and
recording data also involve alert and constant observations (i.e. keeping logs)
• Less preferable due to similarity to trait measures

• It is very difficult to develop this method because you need to identify what is
“good level” etc
• Cost of development
• Opportunity to observe behaviors for many employees


(R-1) BusinessDictionary.com

(R-2) www.humanresources.hrvinet.com/behaviorally-anchored-rating-scales/


(R-4) management.uta.edu/Dr.Wheeler/5322%20fall%2008/Chap011.ppt

(R-5) Gary Dessler