Date of Award

Summer 6-30-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Department

Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Advisor

Barbara Strobert, Ed.D

Committee Member

Gerard Babo, Ed.D

Committee Member

Luke Stedrak, Ed.D

Keywords

Danielson, Evaluation, Teachers, Education, Perception, Administration, New Jersey

Abstract

Since the publication of A Nation at Risk in 1983, the school reform movement has offered many contrasting ideas and initiatives to make our nation’s schools more effective and globally competitive. Today’s educational leaders are faced with an array of complex demands as they are challenged at the state and federal level to improve teacher practices and learning outcomes within their schools. One of those demands for New Jersey administrators was to implement a teacher evaluation program that improves teaching and learning during the 2013-2014 school year. Mielke and Frontier (2012) believe that meaningful teacher evaluation has the potential to lead to improved instruction and professional growth and that the key to success in teacher evaluation may very well be the perceptions and attitudes of the teachers as they participate in the process The purpose of this research study was to examine teachers’ perception concerning their school’s evaluation practices utilizing the Danielson Framework, specifically if these teachers believe that it is of value in shaping and improving their instructional practices.

This qualitative study gathered data from fifteen teachers from one New Jersey high school through semi-structured interviews and observations of the teachers’ conversations with the researcher. The purposely-selected participants are all teachers at the selected high school representing a wide variety of content areas taught as well as a variety in teaching experience.

This research is relevant for school leaders contemplating how best to support, design, develop and implement an effective teacher evaluation system. This research can help districts transform teacher evaluation system from merely an exercise in state compliance into an effective tool that can link effective teacher evaluation to improved teacher practices.

The researcher believes that the teachers interviewed in this study perceive that if educators are given the opportunity to reflect deeply on their practice through a common framework like what is presented in the Danielson Framework, teachers can identify both their strengths and weaknesses and set attainable goals. Through active involvement in the evaluation process, evidence-based feedback, and professional discussions between teachers and their supervisors, meaningful teacher evaluation practices can help both the school and the teacher determine the focus of each teachers’ professional development based on what is actually occurring or not occurring in the classroom. The vast amounts of money, energy, and dedication currently being expended by Rolling Hills to reform their teacher evaluation system will only ensure the continuous improvement of teaching and learning if teacher learning is part of their evaluation. If a culture of meaningful evaluation, continuous feedback, and differentiated support does not already exist, then school leaders must provide the communication and actions to win over the trust of its teachers so that they all believe that professional growth is one of the schools purposes of evaluation.

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