Principals' actions in the performance appraisal system for teachers in successful schools in Texas

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Ramirez, Alfredo

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The purpose of this study was to identify elementary, middle, and high school principals’ perceptions regarding their instructional leadership actions in the performance appraisal of teachers in successful schools in Texas. The focus was on instructional leadership actions that serve to enhance efforts at improving teaching and learning through a comprehensive teacher evaluation system in Texas. The research design was a multiple case study that included one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school within the same school district to identify the actions of principals with regard to the performance appraisal system for teachers in Texas at effective schools. Findings of the study revealed that principals in successful schools in Texas use comprehensive teacher evaluation systems as a basis for improving instruction by monitoring instruction, tying annual campus staff development and training activities to the PDAS, and implementing and integrating a multi-year teacher evaluation process. While their approach was varied, several commonalities emerged from the cross-site analysis. The principals utilized the comprehensive teacher evaluation system to provide support to teachers in need of assistance, as a summative tool, monitor instruction, provide staff development and training opportunities for teachers, set clear expectations, and to ensure compliance with policies and procedures in the district. The findings of this study are consistent with and expand the literature regarding effective instructional leadership and comprehensive teacher evaluation systems. Furthermore, the study is congruent with the finding that scholars and practioners are conceiving of teacher evaluation systems as vehicles for the improvement of both teaching and learning (Iwanicki, 1998; Sowell, 1993; Cardno, 1995; Stronge, 1997; Ovando, 2001). This study confirmed the claims of the above mentioned scholars and extended their findings by describing those specific leadership actions that principals exercise in the performance appraisal of teachers. More importantly, findings suggest that principals, indeed, use the performance appraisal system as a basis to improve instruction.