Hold a calibration session

15Five's calibration feature helps HR leaders and managers make more objective assessments of performance by giving the ability to view, compare, and adjust answers to quantitative (i.e. opinion scale, multiple choice, and yes/no) Private Manager Assessment questions. Holding a calibration session allows calibrators to see the distribution of review ratings across team managers and adjust those ratings in real-time.

Calibration sessions should be held after the manager review deadline has passed and all manager reviews have been submitted. If there are outstanding manager reviews, you can send a nudge to give managers one last chance to submit before the calibration sessions begin.

In this article, you will learn how to hold a calibration session. For more information about calibration sessions, check out these additional resources:



Once a manager submits their manager review AND the manager review due date has passed, managers will see a note on their manager review (above the private manager assessment questions) that says 'This review is being calibrated!'. When that message appears, managers will no longer be able to edit the private manager assessment answers via the manager review or summary.

Hold a calibration session

1. Click on Best-Self Review® in 15Five's main, left-hand navigation bar.

2. Click on the name of the review cycle you want to hold a calibration session in.

3. Click on the 'Calibrations' tab.


4. Find the calibration session that is ready to be held and click into it. 


5. First things first, you'll notice the name of the session and the contributors.


6. Next, you'll notice there are two bar graphs under the Session results header. These stats display private manager assessment answers for the people included in the session. So if there are 6 participants included in the session, the bar charts will reflect the PMA answers for those 6 people. Contributors can reference these graphs before, during, and after the sessions to see how the stats have changed.

  • Should everyone in the session be ready for a raise?
  • Should everyone in the session be at risk for low performance?


7. As you scroll down, you'll see a list of cycle participants included in the session, as well as their manager's private manager assessment answers about them.


If you see white horizontal rows while viewing the calibration session, that means the manager review wasn't submitted. The PMA answers will only appear in the list once the manger review has been submitted.



Click on a participant's name to open their review summary page, which contains all reviews written about them.

8. Now you can start calibrating answers with the other contributors.

Some common actions, tips, and notes for the calibration session:

  • Denote a moderator or secretary for the session—to help take notes and keep the meeting on track.
  • To change an answer, hover over the cell and click ... . Choose the calibrated answer. You'll notice the change is logged in the activity feed.


    • Then the answer cell becomes yellow and notes the original answer (crossed out) and the calibrated answer. 


  • Speaking of activity feed... Use the activity feed to make note of what is changing and why. This information is extremely important, as it can be referenced by contributors and review administrators in the future. You can also @mention other contributors in the comments.


  • Use the filter to search for people, groups, group types, etc. This might be more helpful if the session contains multiple teams or a large number of participants.


  • We save changes regularly while the session is open and changes are being made. So if someone leaves the page while editing and comes back, the changes will remain.

Now that the calibration session has been held and all changes to private manager assessment answer have been made, your work in the session is complete. Until the calibration session is locked, managers will not see updated answers in the manager review or summary, nor will you be able to download the information from the calibrations report. It is important that the session be locked for those reasons. Locking a session is the final step and all sessions should be locked before the 'Calibrations due by' date.

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