Date of Award

2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Department

Education

First Advisor

Theresa Deeney

Abstract

Educational reform efforts over the past several decades have focused on different ways to address student achievement. Since the quality of the teacher that students have is one of the biggest in-school factors that impact student achievement, schools have focused on identifying, measuring, and improving teacher quality. Some of those reform efforts have focused their attention on teacher evaluation as a way of increasing student achievement. There has been much research on the components quality evaluation tools. There is also research on ways to impact and change teacher practice. Unfortunately most evaluation tools do not impact teaching practice. Rhode Island administrators are current facing the challenge of implementing a high stakes evaluation system while also finding ways to help support growth and development of their teachers. This phenomenological study used open-ended interviews to understand how six administrators in Rhode Island negotiate that complexity. Administrators interviewed emphasized the importance of developing a trusting positive climate and utilizing this climate, along with various components of the evaluation system, to provide teachers with the kinds of support that will impact teacher growth and practice in the classroom. Administrators also expressed their frustration at some of the elements of the evaluation system and limitations they have found in their ability to impact teacher change. Findings from this study have implications for those revising or creating educator evaluation systems, as well as for administrators who must use high stakes evaluation systems while simultaneously attempting to impact teacher growth, development and change in practice.

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