Quantification in most professions is being used to keep us from having to shoulder the messy burden of making human, intimate judgments, or explaining why we value what we value. They usually end up being the architectural equivalent of trying to build a cathedral without arches, stained glass, multiple sizes of stone, gargoyles or any other idiosyncratic part that deviates from the standard stone block used in a standard stone wall.

A school that’s all about rewarding people who teach to the tests or who look good even on a robust, multivariable scale, is almost certainly going to overlook good teaching that misses the metric, teaching which a humane, sensitive supervisor might notice and reward.

Because we know that humane, sensitive supervisors are relatively rare, we look to the numbers as insurance against that rarity. I’d rather figure out how to make humane sensitivity the first requirement of institutional leadership.

Tim Burke, in a blog comment, wise as usual.