Let’s be honest: no one loves performance reviews. They’re often awkward and sometimes stressful, even when it’s all good news. But assessment is an important part of everyone’s professional development and career pathway. For a WIL student, performance assessment is more critical yet. 

Performance assessments help WIL students understand what they’re good at and where they need to develop in the context of the work they’re doing. They also allow employers to train potential entry-level employees before they are officially hired. 

But of course performance measurement and assessment can be complex, especially for WIL, and to learn more BHER reached out to over 600 senior executives, managers, and supervisors from diverse industries across Canada to understand how they assess their WIL students. We also asked them how they had adapted their performance management strategies in the wake of COVID-19 and virtual WIL opportunities. 

Through these consultations and additional research, BHER identified five best practices for student performance assessment:

  • Understand roles and responsibilities. Building awareness and recognizing the roles of the workplace supervisor, academic supervisor, and the student, reinforces the idea that assessment is a collective responsibility and ensures accountability.
  • Set clear objectives, outcomes, and expectations. Building learning outcomes collaboratively provides realistic expectations for both the workplace supervisor and the student while aligning with the student’s learning goals and career interests.
  • Promote consistent formative assessment. Fostering regular, constructive feedback and communication allows the student to integrate effectively and meaningfully into the workplace.
  • Engage the student in their own assessment. Including student reflection or asking for self-assessment ensures the student feels they have a role in the assessment process.
  • Take feedback from multiple sources. Considering feedback from peers and other employees will ensure that a supervisor’s evaluation of the student’s performance during their placement is fair.

This guide provides employers with a place to start to develop successful and meaningful performance assessment strategies in the workplace. We welcome any feedback, emerging research, success stories, and resources on performance assessment in WIL that you think should be on our radar. You can contact us at @email.