Leveraging Observations to Shape Teacher Practice in High Schools

Pauline Rosemarie Pearce, Fordham University


Accountability policies enacted since the turn of the 21st century demand a more comprehensive system of principal and teacher evaluation and are raising the expectations of performance standards for educators (Leithwood, 2001). As a result, initiatives to increase educator effectiveness have been undertaken both on the international and national level via performance evaluations (Hallinger, Heck, & Murphy, 2013). However, we know very little about how teaching practices evolve in response to observations systems. States are enquiring about how evaluators can best utilize evaluation findings to provide individualized feedback to teachers to improve teacher quality (Cheraso, Brodersen, Reale, & Yanoski, 2016). This multi-case qualitative study explored how school leaders at the high school level are implementing the teacher evaluation policy, and how they perceive their feedback practices and their impact on teacher development. The sample included 22 high school administrators from an urban school district in the North East. The administrators engaged in a face to face semi-structured interview that consisted of 12 open-ended questions. The results show that competing priorities cause administrators to favor compliance over the teacher development function. Overall, the findings suggest that administrators tailor their feedback practices according to time constraints, teacher’s receptivity to feedback, and content expertise. Implications for policy reform are presented.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Pearce, Pauline Rosemarie, "Leveraging Observations to Shape Teacher Practice in High Schools" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI27829964.