Fiscal restraint promotes a greater emphasis for accountability. In education and training, accountability has often been seen by policy makers to equate to a need to improve the quality of instruction. The writer agrees that the quality of instruction is one important dimension in the complex teaching‐learning process, but to encourage the pursuit of excellence of instruction the instructor appraisal process must not polarise policy makers and instructors. The appraisal process must not be used for summative purposes, and must be well separated from personnel decisions. Many present practices of appraisal use inaccurate, imprecise, narrow and unproved instruments in an attempt to quantify instructor competence. This destroys any innovativeness or spontaneity in the teaching‐learning process and results in a mechanistic approach to the human interactions of instruction. A formative process where peers assist their peers is required.
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