Effects of student performance assessment outcomes as a criterion in the teacher evaluation process
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The teacher evaluation processes and practices utilized in American public schools serving kindergarten through high school students have undergone continual alterations since the early 1880's. In 2001, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, now known as the No Child Left Behind Act, spurred the development and implementation of comprehensive public school accountability systems based on student academic performance measures. This national legislative initiative has brought to the forefront a renewed push for changes in traditional teacher evaluation systems which align individual teacher efforts with student performance outcomes (Stronge, Ward, Tucker, & Hindman, 2007). According to federal documents, in 2013, 30 states required student performance as a measure in teacher performance evaluations. Among these states, 20 require student performance outcomes to be a "significant or the most significant factor in judging teacher performance" (ESEA, 2012). Consequently states and local education agencies (LEAs) developed and employed varying evaluation approaches to document and measure the effects of individual teacher efforts on student performance. The utilization of pre- and post- student assessment measures has been a feature of such evaluative attempts to connect teaching with student outcomes and to determine the value of the teacher’s effort. One such evaluative approach has evolved as value-added model (VAM). In spite of its widespread utility in American school system, the validity, fairness and sustainability of VAMs in teacher has been questioned by leading scholars in the field and vigorously challenged by teachers and organized teacher organizations and unions. Therefore, the purpose of this case study is to examine the effects of inclusion of value-added methods in the teacher evaluation process, and to acquire information to broaden our understandings of the complexities involved in the application of student performance outcomes to evaluate individual teacher performance. The research questions guiding this study are: (1) According to teacher perceptions, how does the inclusion of a student academic performance measure in the teacher evaluation process influence teacher's instructional and non-instructional behavior? (2) Are there measurable differences between elementary and secondary teachers in their perceptions of how a student performance measure in the teacher evaluation process influences teacher instructional and non-instructional behavior? (3) According to teacher perceptions, will students' academic performance on state assessments improve due to the inclusion of student performance outcomes in the teacher evaluation process?