Peacock Scholarship


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Teacher evaluation has existed in many forms throughout history. With or without formal processes teachers are held accountable for student learning and achievement gains through a variety of measures such as standardized test scores, parent feedback, administrative feedback and students' grades. Recent political movement has spurred legislators to support more rigorous and specific evaluation systems that increased accountability of teachers and school districts to link teacher evaluation to student learning. New Jersey adopted the TEACHNJ act in 2012 which required set number of evaluations for tenured and non-tenured teachers, criteria for each evaluation through a variety of models, and test scores and teacher developed assessments were tied into a final score for teachers. If the teacher evaluation system aims to improve practice and identify areas for professional growth, it is important to understand teachers' perceptions on the new system. The purpose of the study was to examine the perceptions of teachers related to the effectiveness of the teacher evaluation system in New Jersey and the perceived benefits and limitations of the new system. This mixed-methods study surveyed teachers from six suburban districts in New Jersey. The districts varied in size and socio­economic factors, but all districts were in their second year of the new teacher evaluation system. Teachers answered eight survey questions using a Likert scale and two open-ended questions that allowed respondents to expand on any of the questions or any other related comments not addressed in the survey. The study revealed that teachers believe in the fundamental principles that serve evaluation processes. Teachers understood the research behind the systems and the need for accountability. The key in successful teacher evaluation is comprehensive training opportunities for teachers not only in what constitutes effective teaching practices, but with the implementation of these practices into the classroom. Further, teachers need to have training on how to utilize the tools used to manage the evaluation systems so that teachers are not tied up with bureaucratic practices that take away from the time to plan effective lessons or collaborate with colleagues. Additionally, evaluators need to continue to learn alongside the teachers to ensure reliability and consistency within the different evaluations a teacher receives from multiple observers. Further research that aligns teacher evaluation with student achievement, as well as teacher evaluation within a variety of settings with specific evaluation models would be valuable. As new teacher evaluation systems become the norm in districts across the nation, further study would provide school leaders with ways to ensure successful and effective implementation policies that support both students and teachers.

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  • 02/02/2024
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