Supervision and Appraisal: Their Relationship and Differences

Supervision and appraisal can be considered as the most commonly used effective aids for improving the overall performance of an organization. One can apply supervision and appraisal in the majority of the phenomena in this world. In the world of management, it acquires more prominence than in any other field and it can also be used in the field of education. The effectiveness of leadership qualities of leaders of an organization can be understood from the supervision and appraisal system existing in that organization. The terms supervision and appraisal have a close relationship with each other. The term appraisal in the general sense means evaluating, measuring, and estimating the nature, worth, ability, level, or significance of employees or students in an organization and school respectively. Effective supervision and appraisal can bring positive outcomes in a society. When effective supervision and appraisal take place in schools and organizations, there will be proper improvements in both fields. Supervision and appraisal have both advantages and disadvantages, like the two sides of a coin. They mainly aim at managing human resources and promoting leadership and also help to solve day-to-day problems, reducing stress, and assessing the developments. Supervision and appraisal are mainly based on achieving the objectives of an organization; so the objectives of any organization should be clear and valid. Effective use of supervision and appraisal can bring about unexpected changes in the performance of any organization.

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Defining supervision and appraisal

The terms supervision and appraisal have a close relationship with each other. Supervision in a general sense includes overall controlling, evaluating, and also getting feedback, problem-solving, and so on. In an organization, supervision is carried out by a coordinator who can conduct daily meetings with the staff to discuss their problems, personal and professional development, and so on to improve the service.

Appraisal means judging the quality, success, and progress of something. The term appraisal includes evaluation, measuring, and estimating the nature, worth, ability, levels of workers in an organization. It includes giving rewards and punishments. Teacher’s appraisal means appraisal of the teachers by the principal. Teachers can also supervise and make an effective appraisal of the students. The objectives of appraisal are “to help improve individual performance, realize potential, and achieve better results for the organization.” (Al- Mahroos 2009, Empowering performance appraisal, para.1). “The appraisal policy should state that the appraisal process is annual, mandatory and covers all staff.” (Supervision and appraisal, 2004, p. 5, Appraisal, para.1). The appraisal aims at improving the performance of individuals and also to create better results for the organization. The important objectives of appraisal are giving sufficient feedback about the past and future, realizing the need for training as well as developmental needs, and setting objectives for the future.

In the journal of curriculum and supervision (Zepeda, & Ponticell, 1998) the Sergiovani says that the theoretical aspects of supervision do not match the actual world of supervision. The early supervision models are based on the improvement of understanding teacher’s teaching behaviors and they can also measure their performances. Later models are based on different aspects. Some models aim at the professional and cognitive development of teachers whereas others give more importance to research-based teaching behaviors and skills. By analyzing ten supervision textbooks, Reitzug reveals that supervision is a discrete intervention. Supervision requires a proper understanding between supervisors and the teachers. The supervisor should try to understand the instructional objectives of teachers. According to pajak, the gateway of supervision should be “a sincere attempt to understand as fully as possible the teacher’s point of view”. (Zepeda, & Ponticell, 1998, p.70).

A significant quotation from the article entitled “A Guide to Good Employment” says that “The key purpose of supervision is to ensure that staff performance is up to standard, organizational and unit targets are met and that staff is developed, valued, and supported in their role” (A guide to good employment, n.d., Supervision, Para 1). Hence it has to ensure performance standards, targets, and developments of staff in an organization.

Supervision is an important managerial tool by which the professional development of teachers and the quality of instruction can be improved. A teacher’s supervision policy is very helpful for the development of excellence among teachers. Growth-oriented teacher supervision has a positive impact on both students’ learning and teachers’ performance. Supervision helps the students to develop and implement plans that are required for students’ learning. In the article ‘teacher supervision, growth, and review’, the author says “The purpose of the supervision, growth, appraisal, and review process is to assist individual staff members in improving and enriching the quality of their instruction for professional growth and the benefit of our students.”(Hagen, 2001, p.5,Purpose, para.1). The purpose of supervision and appraisal is to help individual staff members to make the instruction effective.

Supervision not only creates efficient teachers in society but also contributes to student and school development. It also helps to build powerful administrative decisions. When the school year starts, the school administrators conduct meetings regarding the plans to improve learning in the school. These plans include expectations, timelines, and procedures, and so on. Each school staff should know the role of participants in the process of supervision. The administrator should visit the classroom and talk with teachers. There is an evaluative track and developmental track in the teacher’s supervision. In the evaluative track, the administrator takes direct responsibility for teacher evaluation, whereas, in the developmental track, the administrator is responsible only to help for the professional growth of teachers. Every activity in a school should be clarified up to date by the administrators.

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Critical analyses of supervision and appraisal

Benefits of supervision

Effective supervision can produce better improvements in service, service users, employees, and managers.

  1. Benefits of supervision in the case of managers and services are it can recognize problems at the earliest possibility.
  2. Supervision helps to monitor the objectives of employees.
  3. It helps to clarify the objectives of the service.
  4. It helps to build an effective relationship with employees.
  5. It helps to improve the performance of the staff.
  6.  It promotes leadership.
  7. It creates a proper channel of communication between the supervisor, employer, and employee.
  8. Supervision can reduce complaints.

In addition to this, employees get some benefits from supervision. They can discuss their problems with the higher authorities and they can identify areas to be improved. They can receive feedback about their work. They can build a proper relationship with the supervisors. Work roles would be clear; motivation and job satisfaction can be increased.

In the case of teacher supervision, the supervisors (principals) can make a proper relationship with the teachers in a school. The teachers can discuss their problems with supervisors. The supervisor can ensure whether the objectives are carried out by the teachers and also find out the areas to be improved. Similarly, the teachers can make use of this supervision to achieve the learning objectives and thereby create a proper learning situation. So, supervision is very helpful not only for the supervisors but also for the teachers.

Advantages of appraisal

Appraisal has advantages and disadvantages. The appraisal can create significant improvement in the standard of an organization because it includes the feedback of the past and present and verifies what is required for an organization.

The appraisal includes reward and punishment. So, the act of giving incentives creates powerfulness among workers. The punishment should be productive.

  1. It helps to clarify the expectations of the employees.
  2. It facilitates the exploration of new ideas from the manager and the employees.
  3. It helps to identify problems.
  4. It helps to build a strong relationship with managers and staff members.
  5. It gives a clear picture of service objectives and strategies.

Appraisals are also beneficial for employees. Employees can discuss their roles with superiors effectively. It helps to identify the problems and it can also recommend solutions for the problems (Supervision and appraisal, 2004).

Disadvantages of Supervision

Evaluation of supervision reveals some of the disadvantages of supervision that it often turns away from achieving the desired effect. It has been inferred that supervision very often fails in its attempts to give individual attention to everyone and it may cause decreasing output. Sally J. Zepeda and Judith A. Ponticell refer to a teacher’s words when he writes: “Supervision, for a good portion of teachers…supervision could be a meaningless/invisible routine, a shallow and hollow ritual in which neither teacher nor supervisor was invested nor from which nothing meaningful or useful resulted.” (Zepeda, & Ponticell, 1998, p.79). Supervision in groups and person is different. In group supervision, one can see some defects that prevent its smooth functioning. The words of Peter Hawkins and Robin Shohet make it clear when they remarked thus: “Group supervision is less likely to mirror the dynamic of individual therapy as clearly as individual supervision” (Hawkins, & Shohet, 2007, p. 152). One of the difficulties with group supervision is that here the group dynamics are to be contended with. It would be beneficial only if the group members understand their part or role in the group. Such kinds of groups are self-destructive if any competition arises among them. The power possessed by the supervisory group may also create troubles that there is a possibility for the supervisors to misuse. It has often been seen that some of the supervisors keep their interests by fully disregarding their clients. As previously mentioned, one can see that in group supervision, there is less possibility for each person to get individual supervision. He may get his turn only after one or two week which takes away the real purpose of supervision.

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Ming-sum Tsui (2004) makes a clear analysis of the disadvantages of supervision and discusses them under different points. One of the disadvantages Ming-sum Tsui found with the supervisors is, when he says thus: “the supervisor is more exposed and requires greater self-assurance than in individual supervision” (Tsui, 2004, p.122).

Another disadvantage of supervisors or their profession, according to Ming-sum Tsui is that they should acquire or refresh knowledge of group interaction, group dynamics, and individual behavior in the group context. As the communication among the members is effective for creating a better atmosphere for work, it is also challenging regarding the fact that the same communications and interventions sometimes cause problems among other members.

Disadvantages of appraisal

Analyzing appraisal, one can find some disadvantages resulted from the attitude of the supervisors. The guilty complex of the supervisors in assessing the performance of others is a serious disadvantage of appraisal. Performance appraisal has been proved to be a failure or hurts the potential for promotions, or job security for an individual. (Performance appraisals, n.d.). The power that the supervisors enjoy over their men often causes discomfort, and as a result of that, they provide everyone high ratings. Lack of accountability is a disadvantage of appraisal. Managers often disregard the performance and do not evaluate the accuracy of the appraisals. To prepare accurate performance appraisals, a supervisor should get proper insistence from his/her manager. The lack of such an insistence points to the disadvantages of appraisals.

Another notable disadvantage of appraisal is the ineffective application of standards (Performance appraisals, n.d.). The appraisal becomes ineffective when the supervisor loses control over the standards which are to be applied. The misinterpretation of the ratings of the supervisors often causes for standardizing “satisfactory” or “average”, good as negative, or vice versa. Lack of knowledge in proper ratings and standardization assumes a dominant role in appraisals and a supervisor and his employee should be aware of it. Fear of hurt feelings is a disadvantage of appraisals. It has often been noticed that some of the supervisors allow concessions to their clients to avoid “hurting someone’s feelings”. But they forget the fact that appraisals are specially designed to find out the real value of products and there is no place for ‘feeling’ in it. If an employer rates his employee higher, then it is not possible to evaluate the growth and development of his employee.

To conclude, one can infer that supervision and appraisal are interrelated and it is difficult to separate one from the other. A very close evaluation of supervision and appraisal draws out the advantages and disadvantages of both supervision and appraisal. One can see the fact that supervision is necessary to maintain the well-balance of an institution and it acts as a helping factor that assures the overall performance of an institution.

Appraisal also exerts its predominant influence in many sections of social life, as it is a means for evaluating, measuring, and estimating the nature, worth, ability, level, or significance of workers or students in an organization and school respectively. Thus, one can never neglect the importance of supervising and appraisal in the day to day life.

Reference List

  1. A guide to good employment: Chapter 8: Supervision and appraisal: Supervision. (n.d.).
  2. Al- Mahroos, F. (2009). The need for effective change in the m ministry of health: Empowering performance appraisal. Women Gateway.
  3. Hagen, K V. (2001). Teacher supervision, growth and review.
  4. Hawkins, P., & Shohet, R. (2007). Supervision in the Helping Professions. McGraw-Hill International.
  5. Performance appraisals. (n.d.).
  6. Supervision and appraisal. (2004). NHS: National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse.
  7. Supervision and appraisal: Appraisal: Basics. (2004). NHS: National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse.
  8. Tsui, M. (2004). Social work supervision: contexts and concepts. Sage.
  9. Zepeda, S J., & Ponticell, J A. (1998). At cross purposes: What do teachers need, want, and get from supervision. Journal of curriculum and Supervision, 14 (1), 68-87.
  10. Zepeda, S J., & Ponticell, J A. (1998). At cross purposes: What do teachers need, want, and get from supervision: Abstract. Journal of curriculum and Supervision, 14 (1), 68-87.
  11. Zepeda, S J., & Ponticell, J A. (1998). At cross purposes: What do teachers need, want, and get from supervision: Another teacher noted. Journal of curriculum and Supervision, 14 (1), 68-87.
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