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Open Access Publications from the University of California

An Exploration of Teachers Views of Evaluation in a Choice Based System

  • Author(s): Wellington, Laura Diane
  • Advisor(s): Conley, Sharon
  • et al.


An Exploration of Teachers' Views of Evaluation in a

Choice-Based System


Laura Wellington

The educational landscape is changing and along with the changes is the reform and accountability system of teacher evaluations. As of late, teachers have come under scrutiny for their practice and professionalism in the classroom and many believe we need to hold teachers to higher standards. To that end, recent reforms have been put in place to allow for greater focus and accountability such as the development of new professional standards for teachers.

Professional teaching standards developed in California are designed to provide teachers with guiding principles for improved practice and provisions, as well as drive criteria for teacher evaluations. Along with a standards-based evaluation system, many local California districts are offering teachers on cycle and in good standing a choice-based method of evaluation. It is unclear what teachers' reactions to these systems have been, in particular, whether they feel the choice-based evaluation system allows for more meaningful feedback and insight into their strengths and areas of development as a professional educator. With the permission of the superintendent and a district assistant superintendent, five teachers were interviewed in a medium-sized suburban unified school district in California in order to gain a greater perspective into their opinions of the choice-based system of evaluation. With regards to types of evaluation experienced, two teachers emphasized three evaluation choices (peer, portfolio, and administrator) in their interviews; three others generally emphasized evaluation by an administrator.

A district assistant superintendent was also interviewed, providing background about the choice-based teacher evaluation system in the district, as well as insight into the overarching practice and protocol of the choice-based system in this particular district. Findings highlighted similarities and differences across the cases. For example, teachers tended to agree that it was best to maintain a choice-based system versus the traditional administrative model. In addition, teachers understood and had a clear vision of the choice-based teacher evaluation process. At times, among teachers who did not select the peer or portfolio option themselves, they nonetheless stressed the advantages of those options. Teachers had varied ideas of what might be helpful in making teacher evaluations in general more effective.

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