Teachers' Perceptions of the Use of Student Learning Measures in Teacher Evaluation: An Examination of the Use of Student Growth Percentiles in Virginia

Irani, Michael, Administration and Supervision - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Tucker, Pamela, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Current educational reform for public K-12 schools has focused on revising teacher evaluation policies and practices. One of the chief revisions has been an emphasis on student learning measures as part of a teacher’s summative evaluation. This study examines the perceptions of teachers in Virginia in regards to using one type of student learning measure, student growth percentiles, in a teacher’s evaluation. The study gathered teachers’ attitudes toward the practice as it relates to the areas of propriety, utility, and accuracy, three of the four standards that are delineated in The Personnel Evaluation Standards (Gullickson, 2009). A survey based on these three standards was designed and both closed and open ended responses were collected from 150 teachers in the Commonwealth.

Results of the study indicate that teachers have a negative attitude toward the use of student growth percentiles in a teacher’s evaluation in all three domains. Teachers were particularly concerned about the accuracy of using student growth percentiles in a teacher’s evaluation primarily because they feel the practice does not allow for the accounting of outside influences on students’ achievement on standardized tests among other factors. Teachers also expressed considerable concern about the potential negative impact on collegiality in a school that used student growth percentiles. These broad findings along with others are discussed in this study and are used to provide recommendations for practice and further research. Recommendations for further practice include improving the accuracy and fairness of the practice, communicating how student growth percentiles are used more clearly, and considering the possible impact of student learning measures on a school’s culture. Recommendations for further research include increasing the sample size of participants, analyzing how other types of student learning measures are perceived, and exploring specific ways in which student growth percentiles are used in the supervisory process with teachers.

EDD (Doctor of Education)
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