Tips for creating good appraisal questions

Writing Effective Appraisal Questions for Role Plays

An important component of Role Plays is the appraisal question. These appear at the end of each exercise and are meant for the trainee, friend or coach so that they can decide whether or not a Role Play has been finished successfully. There is a maximum of six appraisal questions per Role Play. Before you wrote the program, you should have set a few competences. Each competence should be linked to one or more appraisal questions.

Here is the competence ‘giving feedback’ as an example. In this case we use a model, namely the 4E model. The four E’s represent  ‘explanation of the behavior’, ‘effect’, ‘emotion’ and ‘expectations for future behavior’. Therefore, the appraisal questions for ‘giving feedback’ look like this: ‘I explain what behavior was undesirable’, ‘I explain the effect of the behavior’, ‘I explain the emotion I felt because of this’ and ‘I mention what behavior I expect in the future’. Click here for more tips on writing a Role Play.

Here are a few points to keep in mind when writing good appraisal questions.

The appraisal questions:


  • should measure specific and identifiable behavior. When ticking the appraisal questions, it should be evident if an answer is right or wrong. So name specific and identifiable behavior, so that the trainee, friend or coach is able to convincingly say: ‘this component is present in the answer’ or ‘this component is not present in the answer’. There can be no room for interpretation. A bad appraisal question is I feel like I have greeted the customer in a friendly way. A good appraisal question is I greet the customer in a friendly way by smiling.
  • should be as small as possible. Putting multiple components in one appraisal question is a bad idea, because if the first component is expressed but the second isn’t, the question is impossible to answer. A bad appraisal question is I give feedback according to the 4E model. This component cannot be assessed with one question, it needs four. The good appraisal questions can be seen in the second paragraph of this article.
  • should be formulated as statements, not as questions. Appraisal questions are ticked and should therefore be formulated as a statement. A bad appraisal question is Did you mention when this person was late? A good appraisal question is I mention when this person was late.
  • should be formulated in the first person. Appraisal questions are formulated in the first person, so that trainees link the question to their behavior more easily. A bad appraisal question is The conversation is concluded by planning an appointment. A good appraisal question is I conclude the conversation by planning an appointment.
  • should be formulated in the present tense. When trainees, friends or coaches watch the recording, they assess the recording that they see at that particular moment. Appraisal questions should therefore be formulated in the present tense. A bad appraisal question is I asked a follow-up question regarding ambiguities. A good appraisal question is I ask a follow-up question regarding ambiguities.
  • may include clarifying examples. Sometimes an assignment can be quite tricky when the trainee needs to give a complex answer. An example can be clarifying in this case and it can help the trainee. An example is I ask a follow-up question (for example: ‘Do you have an idea how we can fix this?’).
  • should be explained in the preparation. Make sure that the appraisal questions don’t take the trainee by surprise, but that the underlying competence has been explained in the preparation or in a previous preparation. This is a good check to see if the text in the preparation is complete. Also make sure that all components in the assignment come back as appraisal questions.


Finally, check if all appraisal questions are linked to the right competence.