APS #5009

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Performance Ratings for University Staff

Brief Description

This APS provides a performance rating system for university staff as a critical component of the university's performance management system for effective resource management and employee development.

Reason for Policy

This policy statement provides the guidelines for annual performance evaluation and planning in accordance with the use of the revised 5-point performance rating form.

Policy Profile

APS Policy Title: 
Performance Ratings for University Staff
APS Number: 
Effective Date: 
January 1, 2021
Approved By: 
President Todd Saliman
Responsible University Officer: 
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
Responsible Office: 
Employee Services
Policy Contact: 
Employee Services
Performance Ratings for University Staff, August 1, 2017
Last Reviewed/Updated date: 
July 1, 2018
Applies to: 
All university staff and their supervisors


Consistent with regent laws and policies, the performance of university staff will be evaluated and rated annually.  The performance evaluation will be based upon the position description and performance planning between the supervisor and employee.  The performance evaluation provides the basis for individual performance ratings and is one of the factors considered in awarding merit pay and other pay adjustments.  The performance rating is the overall summary rating of the individual's performance and constitutes the public record of rating, in accordance with the Colorado Open Records Act.

This Administrative Policy Statement (APS) ensures that the university has a performance rating system as a critical component of a performance management process that serves university interests in resource management and employee development.  The policy does not affect discretion that may be exercised by system administration and each campus to adopt specific ways to administer the performance management system contained in this APS.

University staff and supervisors of university staff are responsible for understanding and implementing the performance evaluation and annual performance rating process as defined in this policy statement.


  1. University staff will be evaluated and receive a performance rating on an annual basis.  Individual performance evaluations and ratings provide a basis for annual merit pay and other pay adjustments, although additional factors may also be used in setting compensation.
  2. The rating for university staff will categorize each person's performance with a five to one (5-1) point summary rating1.
    • The rated employee has the right to submit a response to the rating in writing to their evaluator if they so desire.  This response will be attached to the final evaluation and held in the employee’s personnel file.
    • The supervising authority and rated employee will sign the performance rating form to acknowledge that the rating has been discussed.  If the employee refuses to sign the performance evaluation, the supervisor can note this on the employee’s signature line.
    • The supervising authority will retain the original signed rating form and provide the rated employee with a copy of the signed form.
  3. Each campus may define and document the rating levels along with designing and maintaining the performance evaluations which include the planning documents and evaluation documents.  In absence of a campus policy, the campus shall default to the definitions in section III of this policy.
  4. The performance rating form will be placed in the employee's personnel file.  The performance rating is subject to disclosure under the Colorado Open Records Act.
  5. Any written justification for the performance rating, including plan and evaluation forms, may also be placed in the personnel file but will not be disclosed to anyone other than the employee and university personnel with a demonstrated business need.  Human Resources offices are responsible for approving such access.
  6. Performance ratings for annual merit pay consideration shall be submitted to the applicable Human Resources Office in accordance with individual campus-defined submittal dates.  University staff who receive performance ratings of 2 or 1 are not eligible for an annual merit increase.
  7. The performance rating is only one of the factors that may be considered, consistent with the laws of the regents and university policy, in the annual salary setting process or in comprehensive administrative evaluations.  Additional factors may also be considered.

    1In 2024, the System Administration office will begin a 2-year pilot utilizing a feedback focused method of performance management.


Italicized terms used in this APS are defined in the APS Glossary of Terms or are defined in this policy.

  1. Performance Evaluation: :  Performance evaluation is a collaborative supervisor/employee process that begins with identification of job responsibilities found in a position description, the contract/letter of offer and in the unit's workload policies, includes agreement on a performance plan and feedback on defined goals and objectives and concludes with an assessment of performance.  During a performance evaluation, documents and comments from a variety of individuals that relate to an individual's performance may be collected and reviewed.
  2. Performance Rating: In absence of a campus policy, the performance ratings are defined as follows:
    5 – Outstanding
    Far exceeds performance expectations on a consistent and uniform basis.  Work is of exceptional quality in all essential areas of responsibility.  In addition, makes an exceptional or unique contribution in achievement of unit, department, and university objectives.

    4 - Exceeding Expectations
    Always achieves performance expectations and frequently exceeds them.  Demonstrates performance of a very high level of quality in all areas of responsibility.

    3 - Meeting Expectations
    Consistently fulfills performance expectations and periodically may exceed them.  Work is of high quality in all significant areas of responsibility.

    2 - Below Expectations
    Fails to meet expectations in one or two of the significant/essential position requirements and improvement is needed in these areas.

    1 - Fails to Meet ExpectationsFails to meet expectations in more than two of the significant/essential position requirements and improvement is needed in most aspects of the position.


  • Adopted:  July 1, 1989, APS on Performance Ratings for Faculty, Unclassified Staff/Administrator, and Officers.
  • Revised:  July 1, 1999, renamed Performance Ratings for Faculty, Officers, and Exempt Professionals; April 1, 2009, this policy statement provides for the use of the revised 5-point performance rating form in 2008-2009.  It also provides the guidelines for annual performance planning and evaluation using the 5-point performance rating form for 2009-2010 and thereafter.  A separate APS on Performance Ratings for Faculty will be issued.  Reviewed by Chancellors, vice presidents, human resources directors, and the director of training and development; November 1, 2014: The terms “officer and exempt professional”, “OEP” and “officer/exempt professional” were replaced with the term “university staff”; August 1, 2017; July 1, 2018; September 2, 2021, revised for changes related to the Equal Pay Act and made retroactive to January 1, 2021; January 1, 2024:  Pilot provision added for System Administration office.
  • Last Reviewed:  July 1, 2018. (Limited review in 2021 and revisions made related to the Equal Pay Act only; Limited review in 2024 for System Administration office pilot.)