Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Professional Communication

Committee Chair/Advisor

Haynes, Cynthia

Committee Member

Howard , Tharon

Committee Member

Holmevik , Jan


South Carolina's public education system administrators and teachers need to know more about how the language used in written performance evaluations impacts the effectiveness of evaluation feedback in order to help improve the state's system for Assisting, Developing, and Evaluating Professional Teaching (ADEPT). One key to understanding this knowledge is identifying the characteristics of the language used in evaluation feedback. This study examines the rhetorical situation of written performance evaluations from a theoretical standpoint and used a survey to assess several characteristics of the language used in evaluation feedback (word usage, content inclusion, and the structural order of sentences). Results, while tentative, indicate that effective written performance evaluation feedback avoids negative framing, demonstrates rater awareness of the performance situation, and avoids feedback in question form. The implications of the rhetorical theory behind evaluation and the study's findings are discussed for the fields of professional communication, industrial/organizational psychology, and education. Future directions for research and practice are proposed.



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