More on training evaluations

Subject: More on training evaluations
From: Steven Schwarzman <StevenS -at- Amdocs -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM'" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 13:10:44 -0500

Three writers responded to say that negative evaluations can have an impact:

First, Glen Warner wrote of a dismal training experience. His evaluation led
to a refund, as clear an indication as any that the organization giving the
training took the eval seriously.

Second, John Posada wrote of perhaps an even worse experience, where he
could only evaluate the snacks with a grade better than poor. He reports
hearing that the course was being revised.

Third, Jo Francis Byrd wrote how she and several other students had a
similar experience, except this time over an entire academic session
(yuck!). Another negative evaluation, and the instructor was not back in the

Ladies and gentlemen, we're not disagreeing here. When I wrote that level
one evaluations are called smile sheets because answers commonly fall into
the "good" category (sort of a "Lake Wobegon" effect, where all the students
- or in this case, courses - are above average), this does not contradict
your experience.

Remember, it's not the students who named them smile sheets. It's the
trainers. Any serious evaluation, even or especially a negative one, is far
more valuable to a good trainer (or the trainer's boss!) than a line of
straight Goods, and will have the impact it deserves.

All this is to say that level one evals should be done, and in fact you
should make the questions as detailed as you reasonably can in order to
elicit real thought, but that the responses tend not to be as meaningful as
you might like. As a result, you should try to evaluate on the other levels
as well.

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