How teacher evaluation shapes conceptions of good practice: policy intention, implementation & interpretation Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Gutmann, Laura
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • During the 2010 Race to the Top (RttT) grant competition, the U.S. Department of Education encouraged states to link teacher performance ratings to evidence of student achievement and hold teachers accountable for meeting performance standards. As a result, winning RttT states like North Carolina implemented more rigorous teacher evaluation policies that emphasize documenting proof of instructional effectiveness. Although prior research has focused on the efficacy of particular evaluation mechanisms, there is less information about how evaluation impacts teachers on the ground level. This study asked, How, and to what extent, does teacher evaluation policy influence teachers' conceptions of good practice and professional identity development? Professional identity development is complex and multi-faceted. Teachers' conceptions of their role are influenced by factors like prior schooling experiences, personal beliefs, and teacher education. Contextual factors within schools, such as leadership and collaboration with colleagues, also play a role in shaping teachers' approaches to the classroom. As a result, the effects of implementing policies like teacher evaluation must be understood in relation to other key drivers of practice. First, this study used discourse analysis to examine federal and state level policy rhetoric that established the intended purpose of updating teacher evaluation measures. Next, this rhetoric was compared to narrative accounts of evaluation experiences from North Carolina PreK-3 teachers. Overall, evaluation only somewhat mattered to them, as it often failed to live up to its full potential. Flaws in implementation and little sustained connection between evaluation ratings and improvement strategies contributed to evaluation's lack of influence. In addition, aspects of their teaching that had greater value to teachers were largely based on sustained, meaningful relationships with other members of their educational community. If performance feedback was not based on a foundation of trust and respect, teachers found it to be less effective. These findings point towards considering how evaluation is actually being carried out in schools. In addition, they highlight the importance of developing relationships with teachers and better connecting evaluation feedback to ongoing professional identity development.
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  • In Copyright
  • Glazier, Jocelyn
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2014

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