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Aligning Professional Development to an Educator Evaluation System to Support Teachers

Kathleen Torregrossa, Johnson & Wales University


The professional development (PD) opportunities for teachers in a K-12 district were examined to determine the extent to which they related to, and supported, the teachers’ rating on their evaluations. This district addressed teacher evaluation and teacher professional development jointly with their local and state level teachers’ unions with the collective “conception of teacher evaluation as part of a teaching and learning system that supports continuous improvement” (Darling-Hammond, 2014, p. 5). This mixed-methods study examined the perceived confidence of educators in relation to their PD needs and their evaluation standards; utilizing an online questionnaire and a focus group to address the following two research questions: • What are the perceived PD needs of K-12 teachers in the following educator evaluation standards: 1: Planning and Preparation, 2: Classroom Environment, 3: Instruction, and 4: Professional Growth and Responsibilities? • What is the relationship between the teachers’ perceived PD needs and the following demographic variables: grade span, number of years teaching, number of years teaching in current certification area, regular/special education teaching experience, number of hours of PD taken the prior year, and amount of PD taken in the areas of their Student and Professional Growth Goals? The participants of the focus group (N=8) were a sub-set of the respondents to the online questionnaire (N=602), which was distributed to all of the district’s educators. The questionnaire, with open-ended questions and a 5-point Likert scale, indicated the predominate PD needs were in Evaluation Standard Three – Instruction: Explaining the Content (F=10.83, p<.001, η²=.09), Using a Variety of Discussion Techniques (F=9.83, p<.001, η²=.08), and Setting Expectations for Learning (F=9.78, p<.001, η²=.08). All of which indicated the demographic of number of years teaching had the greatest impact on perceived confidence (1–3, 4–6 < 16–20, 20+). The focus group transcripts were theme coded with the dominant theme; job specific content-based PD (63%), supporting the quantitative data. Several overarching themes were identified for professional development to support educator practice and evaluations which included: a mentor/induction program to assist with supporting new teachers, content specific PD, instructional strategies, job-embedded PD, expanded length of courses, instructional technologies, and strategies for communicating with parents.

Subject Area

Educational evaluation|Education Policy|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Torregrossa, Kathleen, "Aligning Professional Development to an Educator Evaluation System to Support Teachers" (2015). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3704536.