Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2018

Level of Access

Open-Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

Advisor

Ian Mette

Second Committee Member

Richard Ackerman

Third Committee Member

Tammy Mills

Additional Committee Members

Janet Fairman

Rebecca Schwartz-Mette

Abstract

Maine is one of many states that undertook reform to teacher supervision and evaluation in the wake of public attention (e.g., Waiting for Superman) and federal pressure (e.g., NCLB Flexibility Waivers). The Maine Legislature passed An Act to Ensure Effective Teaching and School Leadership (2012), shifting from local discretion to greater state influence on the functions of formative supervision and summative evaluation. As school districts created systems to meet the state’s mandates, they combined growth and employment functions and navigated persistent challenges described in the literature on evaluation and supervision.

The purpose of this study was to examine perspectives from the field as to major local changes in teacher performance evaluation (PE) and professional growth (PG), the ways in which local PE & PG systems were or were not beginning to improve teacher effectiveness, and perceptions of factors contributing to or providing barriers to this improvement. This mixed-method, multi-site case study captured eight school districts as they piloted or implemented systems; the sites were purposefully selected to yield a rural and a non-rural site for each of the professional practice models frequently chosen in Maine. Teachers, evaluators, and supervisors were interviewed (20 total); 302 practitioners in the same roles contributed survey data.

Data were analyzed through multi-cycle coding (Saldaña, 2016), descriptive statistics, and basic inferential statistics. Major changes were underway, including implementation of new and more detailed professional standards, rubrics, and processes for supervision and evaluation. Sites were striving to put professional growth in the forefront and were perceiving positive gains with the detailed standards and cultural efforts, but some intentions such as increasing formative feedback to teachers were not yet realized. New resources were rare and the implementation of sites’ aspirations exposed the scarcity of time for all involved, especially for evaluators (e.g., Principals). Participants largely found the student growth data evaluation mandate unhelpful. Overall in this piloting and early implementation stage participants were not yet seeing the intended increase in effectiveness, but promising practices emerged along with rural differences and the need to address the scarcity of time for evaluative accuracy and formative growth.

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