"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Microsoft's Stack Ranking System Crippling Innovation

It doesn't get any better than this when it comes to explaining how the sheer IDIOCY plaguing Microsoft is now also crippling an entire generation of schoolchildren, intellectually, emotionally and psychologically. Stack ranking, high stakes testing, performance benchmarks, merit pay, and humiliation -- it's all the same strategy and it's a disaster that some say could prove fatal.

Gates and his billionaire buddies dictating ed policy think they know it all and have blindsided desperate politicians and broke state governments with lots of money with lots of string attached.  They are poisoning and destroying public education with their failed business strategies and robbing an entire generation of an authentic education.  Meanwhile, Melinda is still busy scratching her head trying to figure out what makes a good teacher. Well, it looks like a reporter at Vanity Fair finally plucked the last petal off this dead rose.

From Computer World UK;
Microsoft, Big Data and Statistical Idiocy

Last week, Vanity Fair published an article about Microsoft, making a point that the company's staff performance management system, stack ranking, was responsible for "crippled innovation". We see this as one of a rising tide of examples of the misunderstanding of statistics that is endemic in many organisations, and that, with the rise of big data, could prove fatal. According to author Dick Grote, quoted in CBS News, stack ranking, also known as forced ranking, is used by a third of Fortune 500 organisations. This makes this particular misuse of statistics hugely widespread.
Stack ranking is a performance measurement system that, in Vanity Fair's words, "forces every unit to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, good performers, average, and poor." The problems with stack ranking from an employee perspective, particularly in organisations that produce intellectual capital, are widely documented, and include: business units are often challenged with too many good performers, so these strong team members have to be marked down to fill the quota; managers retain poor performers without encouraging them to improve, so that good performers don't have to be marked down; and team members compete with each other rather than work together, because they know that someone has to fill the bottom slot in the annual appraisal table.

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