The Sunday Dialogue in today’s New York Times (18 March 2012) is about fairer teacher evaluations. The Letter writer suggests some ways of improving teacher evaluations which rely on a more comprehensive evaluation policy by principals and department heads. One reader’s reaction, though, hits the nail on the head. This reader notes the only way to evaluate teachers is by student progress, the way we evaluation salespersons by cars sold or doctors by correct diagnoses. And that, the reader notes, is by testing if the students have learned what they were taught.
I think this reader makes a great point. The company I work for has been successful, but in the name of continued improvement decided to create an objective evaluation process for its employees. We hired a testing company to put together a series of tests that employees would take, then rank the employees and provide bonuses and promotions based on their scores.
Our former CEO had a “je ne sais quoi” quality about him which many thought underlay his ability to make the company successful. Since “je ne sais quoi” is hard to measure, the CEO’s score on the new objective evaluation exam lagged, and he was replaced by someone whose score did indicate superior performance. The former CEO gracefully ceded his position.
The implementation of this objective, accountable evaluation system is going well. We all know what we need to do in order to succeed at the company. While it is true that the company’s finances have not done as well under the new CEO, we nonetheless take great pride in the fairness and objectivity of our evaluations.