Term of Award

Spring 2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Lucindia Chance

Committee Member 1

Anne Marshall

Committee Member 2

Laura M. Hughes

Abstract

Author's abstract: Today, school administrators view teacher evaluation as a way to improve instruction and remove mediocre teachers from the system; however, while much is teacher evaluation, there is still much to learn. This study explored how school principals being written about employed follow-through with teacher evaluation systems for the purpose of increased student learning. This study makes both theoretical and practical contributions to the fields of education and school leadership. This was a qualitative study, using semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and a thorough review of the teacher evaluation documents in a small county in Georgia as the method of data collection. Purposeful sampling of tenured teachers, from all four elementary schools in one county, was used to select participants for the focus groups. The four elementary principals from the same four schools were interviewed as well as the county office administrator in charge of teacher evaluations. An open coding method of analysis was used to analyze and interpret the data. Four broad categories of themes emerged from the data to address the research questions: (a) Leaders' beliefs about follow-through to teacher evaluation, (b) Teachers' beliefs about follow-through to teacher evaluation, (c) Strategies to improve evaluation and follow-through, and (d) Policies and procedures must be clear and current for follow-through to occur. Several conclusions were drawn from the findings: (1) Principals consider teacher evaluation of low performing teachers an important part of their job description. (2) Principals implement strategies related to structure, time, and opportunities. (3) High performing teachers rarely received valuable feedback on teacher evaluations that lead to improved instruction. (4) Most teachers had extreme emotions towards teacher evaluations; they either feared them or felt validated by them, there were few emotions in between. (5) Principals who were dedicated to the follow-through of teacher evaluation procedures had teachers who were more likely to be comfortable about the process. (6) Principals implement a variety of strategies to manage the time consuming challenges of teacher evaluation. (7) County policies need to change to include current standards-based evaluation methods. (8) Traditional formal evaluations do not adequately measure instruction. (9) Because teachers felt they learn better from observing other teachers, there should be a requirement for peer evaluation built into the system.

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