Co-op student performance evaluations

Employer discussing an evaluation with a student

To assess performance throughout the work term, employers must complete an evaluation of each co-op student at the end of their work term.

Student performance evaluations are a mandatory step for students to receive co-op credit for their time working at your company.We recommend that you have regular conversations, throughout the term, with your student(s) about performance. These conversations help students to understand your expectations and to ask for support. It will also prepare both you and your student(s) for the end-of-term evaluation.

Tips to ensure a successful co-op term for both you and your student

  • Create a supportive atmosphere. You want co-op students to be comfortable asking questions and turning to you for guidance. A supportive atmosphere will help them to learn new skills and solve problems.
  • Set expectations at the beginning of the work term. It's important to discuss work hours, job responsibilities and goals.
  • Provide feedback on a regular basis to help students improve through their work term.
  • Refer to the Future Ready Talent Framework (FRTF). Our student performance evaluations are based on the FRTF, so ensure your student(s) understand how you’ll evaluate them against the competencies and how they can build their skills.
  • Conduct an informal mid-term evaluation. This gives students a chance to improve and adjust their work to achieve a higher rating.
  • Provide regular check-ins and ongoing feedback to ensure both you and your student have a productive work term.

Steps to complete the student performance evaluation (SPE)

Near the end of the term, we’ll send you an email with a link to the student performance evaluation (SPE). (We’ll send you an email for each student with a unique URL.) Please update your work term record to ensure the correct person receives the student performance evaluation information. If you prefer, you can forward to link to the correct person.

Once you receive the SPE link, there are three steps to follow:

  1. Complete the evaluation – Assess your co-op student according to our FRTF competencies.
  2. Have a conversation with your student – Review their performance and your evaluation.
  3. Submit the evaluation to WaterlooWorks – Required for the student to receive their work-term credit.
Step 1

Complete the evaluation

Please review the detailed instructions on how to complete and submit performance evaluations.

When completing the student performance evaluation, please keep in mind:

  • Your rating should be based on both the student’s output and their behaviour.
  • Our Future Ready Talent Framework (FRTF) can help guide you through the evaluation. There are four competencies in the FRTF on which to assess your co-op student.

Future Ready Talent Framework

The FRTF was developed in partnership with the Work-Learn Institute.  It is a research-backed tool to help students, employers and educators understand the key competencies we need to navigate the future of work and learning. The FRTF breaks competencies down into talent clusters, which will help you properly set goals and evaluate student performance.

We recommend that you review the FRTF with your student(s) at the beginning of the work term so you have a mutual understanding of how they will be evaluated. Ongoing and open conversations that happen throughout will ensure a more successful work term.

The FRTF consists of four talent clusters that contain three competencies:

1. Build relationships
  1. Communication
  2. Collaboration
  3. Intercultural effectiveness
2. Develop self  
  1. Self-management

  2. Self-assessment

  3. Lifelong learning and career development

3. Expand and transfer expertise
  1. Discipline and context specific skills
  2. Information and data literacy
  3. Technological agility
4. Design and deliver solutions
  1. Innovation mindset

  2. Critical thinking

  3. Implementation

We created these talent clusters to help guide your evaluation efforts. The FRTF considers essential skills for the workplace and how the work-term helps develop those in the student, while being an asset to your organization and the work you do.

Step 2

Have a conversation with your student

An end-of-term conversation is the opportunity to go through the evaluation with your student. You can provide feedback on their outputs and behaviours with specific examples. The feedback is important in helping students to grow and learn.

Step 3

Submit the evaluation to WaterlooWorks

Once you’ve completed your evaluation and the conversation, with both parties agreeing on the content, submit the evaluation to WaterlooWorks. We have step-by-step instructions for employers on how to submit performance evaluations in our employer help section.

Your student will not receive their work term credit until you submit the evaluation.

 Why is the student performance evaluation important to you?


The SPE provides a method to review your student’s performance at the end of the work term and is consistent for students for all work terms. It is a tool that will indicate if the students’ performance met expectations. Future employers will be able to see the rating history of co-op student candidates during the application phase. 


The SPE is a method of setting performance expectations for students. It helps them understand how they are going to be evaluated at the end of the term. It is the best way for students to receive formal feedback from their employer on their work term performance and reflect on their areas of strength and areas for development. 

University (Central)

The SPE is a method of collecting standardized feedback from employers about students’ performance during the work term. The SPE enables the university to identify trends or areas where students may require additional support or development. 

Academic programs

The SPE is a tool to enable the assignment of credit for the student’s work term. It also provides standardized feedback from employers on students’ performance.  This feedback enables that we can report on quality indicators for programs. This reporting is essential when performing accreditation and program reviews. 

If you have questions about completing your student performance evaluation, contact your student advisor.