Learn and Lead

About continual learning and leadership

I Don't Want to Measure!

Now don’t get me wrong. I love measurement. Heck, I measure everything, Everything! I am the epitome of measurement. Okay, perhaps that’s stretching it too far but you get the picture. I believe measurement is a critical step to bring about any change and improvement. Yet, I have been shying away from measurement lately. Well, I am still measuring but am generally becoming resistant to pushing the envelope too far on measurement. Which got me thinking.

When does measurement become a pain in the wrong part of our anatomy? When do we start resisting measurement? I think this happens when:

  • we stop playing the game and become score keepers. When measurement becomes an end in itself.
  • measurement starts to be more difficult and time consuming than the actual work that you are trying to measure.
  • we look for absolute precision in measurement when accuracy is all that is required.
  • it is just hard to measure softer parameters and kills the fun of actual work, like trying to measure creativity, innovation, culture, learning etc.
  • we are afraid that measurement will be used against us in performance appraisals, or for comparing us with peers.
  • one measure will lead to the requirement of measuring another, will lead to… …

When have you resisted measurement?

Pic by HeyThereSpaceman.


Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora e Manish!

You have me puzzled over your use of precision and accuracy in the same sentence. Obviously you have a different idea of the meaning of these words than I. I see degree of precision as something that can be measured or estimated and quoted as an accuracy.

But further to your post, I think one has to think why measurements are being made in the first place. A grounding in statistics helps a lot with this. A grounding in errors and 'accuracy' might be even more useful.

There comes a point when the pains taken to measure a quantity may not be justifiable. For instance, when making up a buffer solution (for hairdressing, or dying, or other purpose) it is seldom necessary to measure the ingredients to any closer accuracy than 5%, if that, whereas fitting pistons to the piston cylinders of a car requires much less tolerance.

Knowing why measurements have to be exact (or made at all) is all important to assuming a relevance to the task.

I have spent 35 years defending myself from the vagaries of measurement of learner achievement. Many teachers and schools have been similarly employed in this mission over the decades. It involves dodging bullets that really shouldn't be fired at me at all. Some would say that is dodging responsibility. I would refute that - strongly.

When I set my goals in education, I make perfectly clear that the measurements are to be made around what resources are delivered and how they are delivered. I resist any attempt to write a goal that involves the measurement of educational attainment of learners, for the simple reason that I do not have full (or in some cases any) control over many of the most important parameters which include learner diligence, learner cultural background, learner support at home and learner ability.

Catchya later

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by my employers and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of my employers.

Creative Commons License This work by Manish Mohan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 India License.