Teacher Evaluation in a Virginia Urban School District: Perceptions of Elementary Teachers from a Quantitative Survey Study
Teacher evaluation is mandated by state law and practiced in every public school district. The evaluation of teachers is a vital part of the work of school administrators and the evidence that aligns teacher supervision and its direct or indirect impact on student achievement is scant (Ebmeier, 2003). The researcher examined perceptions of elementary teachers in a southeastern Virginia school division regarding the teacher evaluation process. The goal was to determine how the teacher evaluation process influences professional growth and instructional practices at the elementary school level. In addition to identifying the overall perception of the evaluative practices employed in the school division, the researcher gleaned additional understandings of teacher perceptions on how a particular evaluation tool's effectiveness, purposes, and reliability impact teacher behavior.
Perceptions of teachers from 20 elementary schools in an urban school division in Virginia were researched using a quantitative methodology. There were a total of 446 teachers in grades PreK through 5 in the 20 schools. Data were collected through an online teacher questionnaire. The revised Teacher Evaluation Profile (TEP), created by Stiggins and Duke (1988), was used as the survey tool. The TEP was designed to elicit responses on a Likert scale using five attributes of a particular teacher evaluation experience.
Data from the TEP indicate that teacher perceptions of the overall quality of the evaluation process vary. While there was a consistent perception of neutrality, less than 50% of the teachers perceived the evaluation as a meaningful process. Furthermore, teachers reported that the evaluation process had minimal impact on their professional growth and professional practice. The results of this study may impact the professional development opportunities linked to the evaluation process.