Re: More on training evaluations

Subject: Re: More on training evaluations
From: Jo Francis Byrd <jbyrd -at- byrdwrites -dot- com>
To: Steven Schwarzman <StevenS -at- Amdocs -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2000 13:57:55 -0500

If the people who create the evaluations want them to be honest and serious,
they should design them for honest input. I belong to an HMO (until the next
enrollment opportunity, at least). After a doctor's visit, and I wasn't
particularly thrilled with the visit or results, I received a call from the
HMO's home office wanting feedback. I agreed, but terminated the conversation
when I realized all the questions were geared to reflect a positive experience,
and declined to participate in any since then. They didn't want honest feedback,
they wanted confirmation of what they were doing.

Course/training evaluations should be designed to reflect honest feedback - both
good and bad. If all, or at least most, of the course/training participants
think it was great and wonderful, then the teachers/trainers are doing a good
job, if not... Honest feedback, taken seriously, can lead to better teaching,
better training.

Jo Byrd

Steven Schwarzman wrote, in part:

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

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

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

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