Term of Award

Summer 2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Dr. Jason LaFrance

Committee Member 1

Dr. Paul Brinson, Jr.

Committee Member 2

Dr. Stephen Jenkins


“Teachers are by far the most important in-school factor in determining whether our students succeed and our nation’s schools improve” (Education Trust, 2009. p. 3). Quality instruction should be the objective of all educators. Accountability measures have increased the focus on instruction quality making teacher evaluation an important element in determining teacher effectiveness. A greater emphasis on accountability in the field of education calls for teachers and students to demonstrate standards of competency and performance. In light of current educational policy, the means by which teachers are observed and appraised are as important as the content and students they teach.

The purpose of this qualitative case study research was to understand the perceptions and experiences of principals’ who have implemented Georgia’s Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (TKES). The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) developed TKES as a comprehensive teacher evaluation system to ensure consistency and comparability across districts based on a common definition of teacher effectiveness. By understanding the perceptions and experiences of principals charged with the duties of teacher evaluation, one should be able to evaluate implementation of TKES.

This study’s findings showed principals perceive both positive and negative impacts resulting from their experiences with the implementation of TKES. While they acknowledged areas in which the TKES teacher evaluation system could improve, they identified positive effects as well. Responses indicated the principals participating in the study negatively perceived the change experienced as a result of TKES as inconsequential, the time required to observe in classrooms was spent inequitably, and the challenges TKES presented to school climate required an intentional focus. They acknowledged TKES’ benefits to professional learning and data-driven decision-making. The implications based upon these findings are included along with recommendations for future research.