Analyzing the South Carolina Teacher Advancement Program's Effectiveness and Its Impact on Teachers' Professional Growth

Allen Fain, Gardner-Webb University


The purpose of this dissertation was to effectively analyze the South Carolina Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) and its effectiveness on a teacher's professional growth. More specifically the research of the TAP program took place in the researcher's county and analyzed the TAP elementary schools.

TAP is an all-encompassing program oftentimes referred to as a method of school reform. TAP schools use a rubric that is research-based to evaluate teachers four to six times a year. Specific feedback is given in the forms of pre and postconferencing and a self-reflection conducted by the teacher after each evaluation. The goal of the feedback is to promote professional growth among the teachers. TAP also includes embedded professional development that meets weekly in a required cluster or professional learning community. The professional development offered centers around student needs and goals based on the school's data.

Performance pay is also an attribute of TAP. Teachers and administrators are able to earn a performance bonus based on teacher observation scores, student value added growth, and school goals. TAP schools have a leadership team that includes a master and mentor teacher. Mentor teachers earn a stipend in addition to the classes they teach. Master teachers also earn a stipend, but do not teach an actual homeroom class. The principal and assistant principal are also part of the leadership team. The leadership team plays an integral part in providing the professional development, conducting classroom observations, and providing feedback to teachers in order to develop and enhance their professional growth.

This dissertation focuses exclusively on the implementation of the TAP program in the district where the research took place. Specific areas of focus include teacher efficacy and effectiveness, teacher collaboration and professional development, and performance pay.