Date of Award

5-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Doug Eury

Abstract

This study examined the effects of the recently implemented North Carolina Educator Evaluator System (NCEES) on teaching practices and teacher leadership in a mostly rural county in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. NCEES is designed to improve teaching practices and teacher leadership through performance-based standards. This mixed-methodology study began using grounded theory to form categories from qualitative data collected from piloted focus groups and interviews. Categories derived from the grounded theory analysis were refined in a secondary research method guided by a historical analysis of the processes related to teacher evaluation systems across many decades. The refined categories were then used to drive the primary research methods. A questionnaire was developed based on the refined categories; checked for construct, content, and item validity and reliability; and distributed as part of a survey process in the county under study. The questionnaire was designed using a Likert scale to measure teachers’ perceptions of the effects of NCEES on teaching practices and teacher leadership. The questionnaire also allowed teachers’ written responses on unstructured questions for which grounded theory was used to analyze. In order to triangulate, aggregate teacher ratings from NCEES were examined quantitatively to detect the effects of NCEES on teaching practices and teacher leadership.

Ninety teachers and six administrators participated in the primary research and supplied substantive qualitative data. Quantitative data for the primary research were extracted online from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

The study found conflicting evidence of an overall effect of NCEES on teaching practices due to the inability of principals and teachers to identify specific improvements, conflicts in the quantitative and qualitative analysis of NCEES Teacher Survey, and conflicts within the distribution of teacher rankings across years and compared to three observed sources from the literature review. However, it was determined that teacher leadership had improved due to NCEES based on specific responses from principals and teachers across the Principal Interview process and NCEES Teacher Survey. Evidence was uncovered that indicated teachers primarily improved their teacher leadership roles within professional learning communities and school improvement activities.

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