What Is an Internship Assessment?

An internship assessment is a written evaluation of an intern or on-the-job trainee’s performance. The assessment is usually conducted and drafted by a supervisor or a Human Resources professional

According to an article published by Finances Online, there are an estimated 300,000 number of interns in the United States annually. Around 31% begin internships after college graduation. And statistics show that half or 50% of people have undergone internships more than once. 

Areas of Assessment in Internship Programs

Internships vary across all industries. There are corporate internship programs for would-be marketing professionals or salesmen. There are on-the-job training programs for aspiring reporters and journalists; and there are even unpaid internships that people still sign up for. And depending on the industry, there can be different areas that employers look for when grading or measuring an intern’s performance. The following examples below are just some common areas of assessment.   

Attendance: One of the most fundamental requirements of any employee, not just interns, is attendance. Punctuality is an important area of assessment and is perhaps the most basic rule an intern can strive to uphold. Being on time is not only about time management, it speaks a lot about respect and courtesy. By being early or showing up on time, it gives the impression that you value the other person’s time too. Attitude and Work Ethic: Another basic area for assessing an intern’s performance is work ethic and attitude. How does the intern respond when given a task? Are they open and enthusiastic about it? Or how does the trainee approach a task assigned to him or her? These often can be observed by the intern’s immediate supervisor. Diligence and conscientiousness are two vital traits to achieve productivity and efficiency in the workplace. If these are internalized into your work ethic, then you definitely have the potential to thrive in the workplace. Competence and Hard Skills: Obviously, you take part in an internship to learn actual skills. There are different outputs and deliverables that an intern is expected to accomplish. And depending on the field or industry, measuring competence can also vary across the board. Competence is a combination of intelligence and skill. You are considered competent if you can accomplish your duties and tasks proficiently. A supervisor may evaluate an intern’s ability to get things done before the deadline, initiative, or even resourcefulness. In sum, people display various degrees of competence and not just in a singular way. Interpersonal or Soft Skills: Hard skills are important; but without the right soft skills to supplement it, it can be a struggle to find your footing in a work environment. Interpersonal skills are rather broad and can cover multiple areas such as the ability to work in a team, respect for authority, flexibility, self-discipline and regulation, emotional maturity, and resilience. How you process criticism, view challenges, and respond to stress are key factors that will determine if an intern or employee can survive the demands of the workplace.

Tips for Interns and Trainees

Do not be afraid to ask questions: Being an intern means you are still starting out and building your career. This inexperience can actually be quite advantageous. There is relative leeway for committing mistakes. Of course, it is not to say that you should not do your best; but office environments are generally more forgiving towards interns because they have a different set of expectations than that of regular employees. If you are unsure of a task or instruction, don’t be afraid to seek clarification. To your supervisors and colleagues, this shows interest and a willingness to learn. Expand your network: Like any institutional environment, the office is a diverse space where you can meet all kinds of people and personalities. As an intern, you don’t want to limit yourself to what you already know or have. Take advantage of the opportunities and expand your network. An internship is a great opportunity to meet people and learn from others. Be open to other people, not just tasks. You may be assigned to a particular department, but do not let that stop you from learning about other departments as well and learning how each fits into the organization as a whole. Get out of your comfort zone: Taking on an internship is a wonderful opportunity to get out of your comfort zone. It allows you to see firsthand what life in the workplace is like. You are exposed to a non-academic environment and are thus able to witness the dynamic interconnectedness of an organization, its systems and processes. Being able to step out of one’s comfort zone is a step towards personal growth and professional progress. Cultivate a learning mindset: During the course of an internship program, do as much as you can and take advantage of skills training. Even if it is as simple as filing documents or doing clerical work, it is still a skill. Think of yourself as a blank piece of paper or a sponge; and try to absorb every bit of knowledge that you can. It may not seem like much while you’re in it, but it will make a lot of sense in retrospect. The purpose of an internship is to learn the ropes, and you cannot fully maximize that experience without maintaining a learning-oriented mindset.

How to Create an Internship Assessment

You want to create a comprehensive but fair assessment that does not simply contain a grade, but an assessment that enables the intern to foster a keen awareness and desire for improvement. To begin, use a convenient template from the choices above and simply edit it according to your needs. Also, keep in mind the following guidelines when crafting your internship assessment: 

Step 1: Basic Information

Start off by indicating all the general information of the intern. State the intern’s complete name, designation or department, length of internship, name of the immediate supervisor, and other relevant details. It is optional but you can also briefly identify the learning objectives. Keep it short and direct with a maximum of two to three bullet points.    

Step 2: Standard Rubric

Any evaluation or assessment form must always include a rating scale or rubric. To measure the intern’s performance, establish a standard rubric to base your rating on. This can be either in descriptive or numerical format. If you opt to use the latter, 1 normally represents the lowest score you can give while 5 is the highest. Lastly, make sure you provide instructions on how to use the rubric. 

Step 3: Criteria for Assessment

To apply your rubric, you need to prepare a set of questions or statements to use as criteria. Organize these items by grouping them into clearly differentiated sections. Use bold headings to separate each section. When grading your intern’s performance, you need to ask yourself what aspects or areas you want to focus on. Refer to the examples above for ideas.

Step 4: Suggestions, Recommendations, Comments

Lastly, provide adequate space for comments and suggestions. As an appraiser, you want to justify your ratings as well. If there are noteworthy traits or work output that’s commendable, you can specify these in the comment section. In the same way, this section is also for identifying areas that need improvement.   


What is an internship assessment?

An internship assessment is a graded evaluation that appraisers use to measure the performance of an intern or trainee. It aims to assess various areas of conduct including skills, work ethic, attitude, etc.

How do I give feedback to an intern?

As much as possible, you want to give objective yet fair feedback. Constructive criticism is perfectly acceptable for as long as the goal is to help the intern grow and learn. When giving feedback, be honest and straightforward as much as possible. You can cite specific instances to support your claims or arguments.

How do you measure the success of an internship program?

To measure the success of an internship program, you need to have standard metrics in place first. Identify your key success indicators. This could be targets, deadlines, participation etc. If there is evident growth and professional development in the intern at the end of the program, then that is usually a clear sign that it was successful.

An internship program is a good opportunity to gain knowledge, hone skills, and expand one’s professional network. And aside from on-the-job training, proper assessment and evaluation is needed in order to help the intern succeed and grow. Browse the sample templates above to draft your own internship assessment form now!