My friend, Tim, who I respect a lot, questioned the idea that self-evaluation is the only evaluation that really matters. I think there is definitely room for discussion on this point. His comment follows below and my reply follows after that.

The irony–

I read this: “Glasser and Deming agreed that self-evaluation was really the only evaluation that mattered. We have to hold to this principle, pursue it, nurture it, if we are to create learning environments that are need-satisfying.”

While the seniors are filling out their evaluations of me and the various mini-courses in their religion class this year, I don’t think my self-evaluation is the only one that matters!

Even since writing the following reply I continue to think about the need for and process of evaluation. Here’s the response I came up with a couple of days ago, though.

Yes, student feedback is important, but the real question is what is the feedback for?
If it is for you, then how you evaluate or respond to their feedback is the key piece in the process.
Some teachers will have student feedback available, but not even look at it for fear of what it might say.
Other teachers will read the student data and comments, but dismiss them because the students really don’t understand what education is about or what the teacher is trying to accomplish.
Still others will read the comments and resent the students for their candor.
And finally, some teachers will read student comments and truly reflect on what they are saying and how those comments might help them improve their instruction.
Students can say all kinds of things, but what they say matters only in the ways the specific teacher relates to their comments.
In the end, the only evaluation that really matters is self-evaluation, or how I process the feedback from others.
I have a personality that can get positive feedback from nine people and feedback for improvement from one person and it will be that “negative” comment or feedback for improvement that I will obsess on. My self-evaluation is not helpful to me at that point. I would benefit from someone who could help me see things more accurately, both the positive and the areas for growth. I think this is a special area in which superintendents and principals could change the way in which teacher evaluations are done.
Ultimately, it is how I respond to being evaluated that is the important thing.
Presently, I don’t think that most evaluators or evaluatees get this at all.

Still a classic, no matter how many times I see it.

I see that my response might clarify things a bit, but not nearly enough. In the next blog post I will share an article that Bob Hoglund wrote a while back that offers further clarification when it comes to evaluation. He sees an important difference between reasonable external expectations (standards) and external control. For instance –

Do you want a pilot who self-evaluated that he is able to fly a passenger jet?


Just a reminder – The Choice Theory Study Group for this weekend has been cancelled.