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Psychometric testing of teachers

I had to write this post in response to an article in The Independent titled “Teachers should face tough new tests to weed out incompetents“. Here’s the original article.

It appears that none of the groups mentioned in the article understand the basics of psychometric profiling. Perhaps this is a symptom of the growing obsession of testing within the school system, for the first thing that should be pointed out is that you cannot be “tested” for personality. It is not a test. Teachers may want tests, the government may want tests, the think tank (The Institute for Public Policy Research) may want tests but unfortunately they have all misunderstood the principle of psychometrics and how it can help.

Christine Blower’s, comment that “The idea of psychometric tests is a dead end which in many other walks of life has been highly dubious and very unreliable.” is seriously misinformed with psychometrics being almost as commonly used as CVs in the recruitment process. People fear what they don’t understand and it is apparent that Christine doesn’t understand psychometrics.

Personality profiling would not tell you if someone is going to be a good teacher or a bad teacher, however it would tell you what kind of teacher they would be. As I attended five schools and several tertiary educational establishments, I am probably as qualified a customer of the educational system as anyone. In my experience teachers come in all shapes and sizes (in terms of personality that is). School as a work environment probably isn’t compatible with everyone, though the ones that suffered most under the school system probably were my favourite and best teachers. School would be a poorer place if these maverick teachers were no longer part of the school fabric. A personality report will tell you what kind of teacher someone is likely to be and if they are allowed to be that type of teacher then the teaching staff and pupils will be all the richer for it.

It will also tell their manager (the head) how to manage them better. The days when the manager could get by on their “one style fits all” approach are long dead. Today managers have to adapt their style for each person they manage, in order to get the most from them. Personality reports will tell managers how to manage their staff better and get the best results possible. it should make for happier managers and happier staff.

Every organisation needs a range of personalities, without this they become stagnant and lopsided. The last thing our school system needs is more drones. Great teams are made up of diverse personalities and school is a team effort. If personality profiling is to be used in schools it should be used to enable a better understanding of the individuals and how best to accommodate them and get the best from them. It won’t tell you a good teacher from a bad teacher, you need to ask the kids how to do that.

If you want to know where psychometric testing is heading then read this article. It’s come a long way on the last 100 years and it’s still a very new science.

 

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