Eric.ed.gov – Using Subjective Teacher Evaluations to Examine Principals’ Personnel Management

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Teacher evaluation is at the center of current education policy reform. Most evaluation systems rely at least in part on principals’ assessments of teachers, and their discretionary judgments carry substantial weight. However, we know relatively little about what they value when determining evaluations and high stakes personnel decisions. The author leverages unique data from a public charter school district to explore the extent to which school administrators’ formative evaluations of teachers align with teacher and school effectiveness and predict future personnel decisions. While previous research has examined administrators’ subjective evaluations of teachers in surveys and in practice, this study links a detailed evaluation in practice with multiple types of personnel decisions to provide new insights into administrator decision-making. A better understanding of the teacher contributions that administrators consider in their personnel decisions may improve the design of emerging evaluation systems. Research questions include: (1) Do overall ratings on formative mid-year teacher evaluations predict subsequent dismissal and promotion decisions by administrators? (2) Are there coherent and distinct factors within evaluative ratings that reflect different aspects of teacher performance? (3) Are different types of personnel decisions or anticipated personnel decisions predicted by different factors from the evaluative ratings? (4) Do either overall ratings or specific factors from the evaluations predict teacher value added performance in the same school year? (5) Do school aggregates of all teachers’ evaluative ratings predict school-wide average value added performance in the same school year? Data came from a network of public charter schools that operate under a single centralized district management team. Data are available from 17 different schools who participated in a subjective, formative teacher evaluation system between SY 2008-09 and SY 2010-11. The author examined 747 individual teacher evaluations over a three year period, and related them to a variety of school personnel decisions affecting teachers in the same school year. Teachers taught in grades k-12, in all subject areas. For a subset of math and language arts teachers in grades 4-8, the author also compare teacher evaluations to teacher value added measures available in SY 2010-11. Results found that administrators’ overall formative teacher evaluation ratings are significant and substantial predictors of future personnel decisions. Lower schools lower scores in Student Engagement and Behavior and Personal Organization and Planning are strong predictors of teacher dismissal. The study also found that higher scores in these two factors, particularly Student Engagement and Behavior, predict greater likelihood of teacher promotions to academic school leadership. This study offers new insights into the diversity of teacher contributions that local school administrators value in their management of school staff. The author discovered that administrators consider a range of teacher practices when assessing teacher quality, and that their formative evaluations predict their future personnel decisions. Moreover, administrators weigh different, distinct evaluative criteria when staffing different teacher roles at their schools. The results suggest the importance of accounting for multiple aspects of teacher performance in evaluation systems that are meant to inform multiple types of personnel decisions. Tables and figures are appended.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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