Teacher and Administrator Perceptions of Teacher Evaluations' Impact on Teacher Growth
Stratuik, David, Administration and Supervision - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Mitchell, Sandra, CU-Leadshp, Fndns & Pol Studies, University of Virginia
“The paradox of teacher evaluation is that it holds the potential to help nearly every teacher improve, yet in actual practice it helps almost no one” (Stiggins & Duke, 1988, p. 1). While the above quote was written more than three decades ago, some would suggest that while the process looks different, the outcome has changed very little. Significant resources of both time and money have been poured into improving the teacher evaluation process. At its core, teacher evaluation is viewed as a tool to remove ineffective teachers and improve instructional practices (and consequently, raise student achievement). Despite the resources and the potential impact of the teacher evaluation process, there is little evidence to show that changes in the process have resulted in positive outcomes for teachers or students (Weisberg et al., 2009; Dynarski, 2016; Stecher et al., 2018). This capstone project focused on better understanding the current perceptions of teacher evaluation in Chase Township Public Schools and how it might be improved by embedding principles of adult learning theory, specifically, research-based feedback strategies.
This study took place in Chase Township Public Schools, a pseudonym for a suburban school district in the United States. The district has a total of eight schools, 5500 students, and approximately 700 certificated staff members. The study focused on the teachers and administrators in four of the district elementary schools that span from kindergarten through fifth grade.
The purpose of this study was to describe teacher and administrator perceptions of the teacher evaluation process in CTPS and its perceived impact on teaching and learning. The study uses adult learning theory as a lens for possible ways the teacher evaluation process might be improved.
A mixed-methods approach, beginning with a survey of teaching staff, followed by semi-structured interviews of teachers and administrators, was utilized to gain a better understanding of perceptions of the teacher evaluation process in Chase Township Public Schools. This study looked specifically at the perceived impact teacher evaluation has on teacher growth and improvement through observation and feedback. In better understanding how teachers and administrators perceive the current evaluation process, the researcher could begin to consider which changes, if any, are needed to fully realize one of the core objectives of teacher evaluation: growth and improvement.
The data from both the quantitative survey (teachers) and qualitative semi-structured interviews (teachers and principals) painted a picture of the perceptions of teachers and administrators in Chase Township Public Schools. The survey provided the broad strokes by capturing the responses of nearly 60% (n=98) of the certificated teachers in the four schools included in this study, while the semi-structured interviews offered a deeper understanding of the ‘why’ behind the perceptions. After an in-depth analysis of the data, three themes emerged:
1. Observation feedback is valuable, but it does not happen enough.
2. Administrator follow-up after an observation and feedback conference is not a regular or consistent evaluation practice.
3. While the observation and feedback process is viewed as valuable by both teachers and administrators, related evaluation components (SGOs, PDPs, End of Year reflections) contribute to the belief that the teacher evaluation process is not worth the investment of time.
From these findings, four recommendations were presented to the district leadership in Chase Township Public schools. The recommendations included:
1. Increasing opportunities for classroom observations and feedback.
2. Embedding follow-up in the feedback process.
3. Redesigning or eliminating ancillary evaluation components.
4. Differentiating the delivery of feedback.
EDD (Doctor of Education)
teacher evaluation, adult learning theory, ways of knowing, teacher improvement, teacher growth