Not even reliably wrong

On more than a handful of occasions I have asked the DfE and Ofsted to discuss the effectiveness of annual performance reviews. Both parties are unremarkably quiet on the matter. Now, after reading Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio article “How Gender Bias Corrupts Performance Reviews, and What to Do About It” over at the Harvard Business Review, it read that PM reviews are not only weak tools for professional development, their biased.

Women are shortchanged, with women 1.4 times more likely to receive critical subjective feedback (as opposed to either positive feedback or critical objective feedback). Less constructively critical feedback with successful performance more likely attributed to characteristics such as “luck or their ability to spend long hours in the office,” rather than their abilities and skills. Which points, highlights, the observable flaw in the process – subjectivity. And what compounds the issue in Education, is that this subjectivity is based on the flaw subjectivity of lesson observations. (Well at least part of most teacher appraisals takes into account lesson observations.)

The good news is that there are alternative models to performance reviews and some specifically to reduce gender bias.

Real-time communication tools are on my investigation list. A model that has been shown to recognise the strengths of female leaders who employ collaborative and participatory leadership styles.

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2 Replies to “Not even reliably wrong”

  1. Really interesting. Having been on the end of some ‘extraordinary’ feedback over the years, I’m afraid that I tend to tune out now, and self-assess! I’ve been told that I am too friendly, too upbeat, too optimistic, that I’m a maverick, a non-conformist, a rebel… my favourite was the one who said, we love that your results and retention are so high and the emails we get from parents, we just don’t like the way you work… hmmmm….
    Real time communication sounds interesting, might take a look at that model.
    I still believe in the ‘let them get on with the job’ model 🙂
    PS Think you meant they’re not their??

    1. I will continue to challenge PM as a process, flawed and accepted as it is. The qualities you outlined, that were derided, were those I most admired.

      I am forecasting that your new clients well need, benefit and warm to those qualities.

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