How to Design a 360 Degree Assessment


Many of our clients come to us with an idea of what they want to cover in a 360 degree assessment, but without having any questions written. We have a process to help in the assessment creation – a way that can show your thinking at each step.

Start with a list of sample questions; the list we generally use is in an Excel file format, and has about 160 questions, organized by topics / competencies. If you would like access to this sample library, click here (Excel Spreadsheet).

Tag your questions: Go through the list of questions, and tag the questions you have an interest in. We suggest that you tag about 45 – 50 questions. An assessment of that length allows raters to take the assessment in 10 – 12 minutes, while providing a depth of feedback that is useful and understandable to the participant. Rename Sheet 1 to Step 1.

Sort your questions and copy to new worksheet: Divide the questions into the tagged and non-tagged questions. Create a new tab at the bottom of the spreadsheet called Step 2, and copy the list of tagged questions into this tab. Now, sort the tagged questions by topic area.

Eliminate questions that are too similar: You don’t want multiple questions that are basically covering the same content.

Even out your topics: Are there approximately the same number of questions per competency (3 – 5, 4 – 6, 5 – 7)? If not, move some of the questions from topics that have too many questions to ones that have too few questions (if it makes sense from a content perspective). For example, the question “Maintains a sense of urgency, which is communicated to others” can feasibly go under the Approach or Communication Topic areas without compromising the integrity of the assessment instrument. You can detail these changes in column C prior to making them if you like.

Copy your assessment to a new worksheet and re-review: Take the entire spreadsheet under the Step 2 tab, and copy it in to a new tab (called Step 3). This is your new draft assessment.

Once again, review the assessment. Look for duplicates, see if the topic areas are weighted evenly, make sure that questions start with an active verb, and that you have covered all important areas of needed feedback.

If some of the topic areas still have too few questions, you might decide to go back to the first tab and look at the questions that weren’t originally selected to see if a few of them should be added to the assessment.

Typically, you’ll have a completed assessment at either Step 3 or Step 4 (but you can keep modifying if you like). What we find, is that by following this process you can explain how you moved from the original list to the final version, and you can also easily walk yourself back to a previous step if needed.


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