Professional development programs and teacher evaluation systems should go hand-in-hand to support teachers across all career stages (Danielson, 2007). The professional development (PD) opportunities in a K-12 district were examined to determine the extent to which they related to, and supported, the novice 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). However, in 2014/15, this district did not have a mentoring/induction program to specifically address the PD needs of novice teachers.
This study re-examined the data from a mixed-methods study of the perceived confidence of educators in relation to their PD needs and their evaluation standards (Torregrossa, 2015) to address the following research questions: What is the relationship between teachers’ perceived PD needs and the demographic variable of number of years teaching? What are the perceived PD needs of novice teachers (1 to 3 years in the profession) in the following educator evaluation areas: Standard 1: Planning and Preparation, 2: Classroom Environment, 3: Instruction, and 4: Professional Growth and Responsibilities?
The respondents to the initial study’s (Torregrossa, 2015) online questionnaire (N=602) were a subset of the district’s 967 educators. The questionnaire, with openended questions and a 5-point Likert scale, indicated the predominate PD needs of teachers across all grade spans and years of service. For the purposes of this paper, the specific focus was on the data for new teachers (perceptions of confidence on their evaluation rubric and their professional development needs). This current study analyzed the data specifically within the demographic variable of number of years (1-3) in the profession. The results indicated the demographic of number of years teaching had an impact on perceived confidence (1-3, 4-6 < 16-20, 20+). Further, the data showed that novice teachers have the greatest significant discrepancy in confidence on the evaluation tasks within Evaluation Standard Two - Classroom Environment (7 of 9 tasks = 78%): Understanding the Importance of Content (F=8.14, p<.001, 3 ת²=.00),Setting Expectations for Learning and Achievement (F=8.38, p<.001, ת²=.07), Managing Instructional Groups (F=4.71, p<.001, ת²=.04), Managing Student Transitions (F=3.38, p<.005, ת²=.03), Managing Materials and Supplies (F=3.74, p<.002, ת²=.03), Setting Behavioral Expectations (F=7.52, p<.001, ת²=.06), and Responding to Student Misbehavior (F=9.39, p<.001, ת²=.08).
Through this study, several overarching themes were identified for professional development to support novice educator practice and evaluations. The data indicated novice teachers have a lower perceived confidence level on 50% of the evaluation elements compared to their more veteran peers. There is a clear need for this district to establish a mentor/induction program to assist with supporting new teachers in the areas of planning and preparation, establishing the classroom environment, and instructional strategies.
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Torregrossa, Kathleen A. and Gable, Robert K., "Supporting New Teachers: Aligning Professional Development to Educator Evaluation Data" (2016). K-12 Education. 25.