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Professional Self-Assessment

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Professional Self-Assessment An Article which sets out why we need to work in pairs or triads when we are developing our professional skills.
 
To doubt everything, or, to believe everything, are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.
Henri Poincare

We cannot observe external things without some degree of Thought; nor can we reflect upon our Thoughts, without being influenced…by the Things which we have observed.
William Whewell

What is self-assessment? What are its strengths and dangers? Why do it? How can it work?

This is a Free Sample Resource
Categories: Article, Professional Development, Educators, Any Subject

Tags: CPD Coaching
On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate yourself as an educator? That’s a real curved ball of an interview question isn’t it? And of course we all know that the right answer is 7.83. But what value is there in asking a question like this and is it ever possible to be sure of the answer?

Who Are You?
Have you ever met or worked with someone who rated themselves 10? Or maybe 0? As Poincare says, with self-perception like this, why bother reflecting? You’re either as good as you’ll get or beyond hope. And herein are the debilitating or arrogant dangers of self-perception. Your personal history and the shaping forces brought to bear by society can provide flawed ideas of who you really are. Any form of professional self-assessment should include a reality check. 

The Ghosh Test 
In 1982, Dr Baran Ghosh was convicted of theft. He appealed on the grounds that the judge had instructed the jury to ‘use their common sense’ when deciding if he had acted dishonestly. Ghosh argued that their decision should have been based solely on an assessment of whether he believed his actions to be dishonest. Although unsuccessful, his appeal lead to a modification of jury instruction on dishonesty. Firstly, a jury must decide if an ‘ordinary decent person’ would consider the accused’s actions to be dishonest. Then they must agree if, by those standards, the accused realised he was being dishonest. 

Professional self-assessment in school can use the same principle by asking, ‘Would an ordinary, decent teacher consider their colleague to be a 10 (or 0)?’ And, ‘does the colleague realise the implications of assessing themselves as 10 (or 0)?’ You need others with whom to discuss and validate your self-perceptions and you need clear criteria about which to talk.

Phone a Friend
These criteria are provided in professional standards, social norms, organisational principles and legal boundaries. Assess your day to day behaviours against these commonly accepted characteristics, and then ask a trusted (ordinary & decent) colleague to comment. That’s a valuable process for professional growth. Worthwhile self-assessment rests on discovering together what a characteristic looks like and then discussing if and how you are ‘looking like that’.

Process Not Endpoint
The original question is helpful because it kick-starts thinking. But its answer – even 7.83 – is meaningless unless you know what criteria a 7.83 meets. And, more importantly, what you have to do to become an 8.47. Professional self-assessment is a process of continually monitoring knowledge, skills and behaviours against increasing expectations. But why bother? Why not delegate the job to peers and bosses? Simple:  Research (Hattie, 2009) clearly shows that your learning is more effective when you are involved in its assessment than when the assessment is only ‘done to you’. And, after all, you know yourself best of all, don’t you….?




Related Resources:

Assessment for Teaching

InfoMe Thinking

InfoMe Thinking Powerpoint

Professional Learning

Tips for Professional Self-Assessment

  Comments

JuniPer

I totally agree with the above. Surely to be excellent is it engage, to adapt, to reflect and to consider, education is the hardest job in the world and often the least valued. Shame, it changes lives. So rather than give a number which quantifies give my self the challenge of that was good what would I do to make it better.

By Juniper on 23/05/2015 03:43:22

360?

Hi Julie, fascinating take on self-reflection. I guess we can conclude here that there are folks who seek and work with 360 feedback and those who avoid it. It's a risk to become vulnerable to growth. Thanks for your comments.

By MikeTC on 03/07/2014 16:10:06

New Comment

I agree honest self- assessment leads to genuine improvement.
In my experience truly outstanding teachers never believe they are outstanding. They simply believe they are doing the best they can for the children they teach. Conversely, poor teachers rarely believe they are poor and fall into two categories; those who can be supported and coached to improve; and those who should be supported and coached to seek alternative employment.
The first group would never give themselves a 10 and the second would not award a 0.

By JulieElliott on 06/02/2014 17:58:22

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