Teacher Attitudes Toward The Henrico County Public Schools Professional Growth Plan for Licensed Professional Personnel
Evans, Lyle Elton
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Experts have suggested that the primary purposes of teacher evaluation systems are to promote the professional development of teachers and to provide information on their strengths and weaknesses so that appropriate training might be planned. It is important for teachers to have ownership in such planning and to be provided options for their professional development. The primary focus of this study is a professional growth plan which includes options that are designed to provide opportunities for teachers' continuous growth; assist teachers with instructional planning; empower teachers to be responsible for analyzing their performance; and empower teachers to facilitate learning for themselves. The purpose of this study is to examine the differences in the views of teachers under the four different options of the Henrico County Professional Growth Plan (structured, individual, collegial, and peer observation). A survey was the primary instrument for data collection. The sample for this study consisted of 58 schools (39 elementary schools, 9 middle schools, and 10 high schools). For each of the primary options, a proportionate sample of teachers was drawn from each level, i.e., elementary (kindergarten through grade five), middle (grades six through eight), and secondary (grades nine through twelve), with the sample proportion being equal to the proportion of the total group. From this group, teachers were randomly selected for participation. The actual sample consisted of 574 teachers who returned the completed survey instrument used in the analyses. This number represented a response rate of 80.6 percent. Major findings revealed that teachers on the collegial and structured growth options indicated the greatest satisfaction with regard to continuous growth. With regard to instructional planning, an important factor to be considered in the professional development of teachers, elementary teachers who participated in the collegial option indicated the greatest satisfaction. Specific staff development activities offered by the school division were viewed as creating the greatest satisfaction among the many professional growth factors examined. These factors, developed through exploratory factor analysis process, included satisfaction with opportunities for growth in instructional planning, the role of and interaction with the principal, commitment to the profession, increase in knowledge base, peer support and interaction, and educational conferences. Other findings indicated that teachers valued the advice from and work with their peers and principal as a form of professional development more than other factors. Teachers who participated in the collegial and structured options, in particular, responded positively in this regard. On the whole, elementary teachers expressed higher satisfaction with professional development activities as related to their professional growth plans than did middle or high school teachers, regardless of the plan option with which they were associated. Although a major objective of the professional growth plan was to empower teachers to facilitate their own learning, teachers indicated less satisfaction with this factor than with other factors examined. Teachers, in general, did indicate that they were empowered to analyze their own performance, with teachers participating in the structured option indicating the greatest satisfaction with opportunities to analyze their performance.
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