Peer Evaluation and Professional Community in Public Education: A Study of Two School Districts.Report as inadecuate

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This paper reports preliminary results from a survey of teachers and administrators within a sample of schools in 2 school districts in which peer evaluation programs have been in use for more than 10 years. Columbus, Ohio, is a large urban district whose 5,000 teachers are represented by an affiliate of the National Education Association. Poway, California, is a medium-sized suburban district whose 1,600 teachers are represented by an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers. The study examines the perceived success of these evaluation models in improving teacher quality, encouraging professional development and growth, and assessing the relative performance of teachers fairly. In addition, the survey examines how educators in the two districts perceived their influence on a variety of school decision-making areas. Responses were received from 310 teachers, an overall return rate of 23.6%. These data were then compared with similar perceptions among teachers in a national survey conducted in 1994. Educators in both districts reported high levels of individual professional commitment to teaching relative to the national sample. The survey also examined a variety of school climate topics in the two school districts. Educators in these two peer evaluation districts revealed higher than average levels of satisfaction and feelings of effectiveness toward their work, as well as higher levels of cooperation, coordination, participation, sharing of values, supportive administration, and general communication. The survey also reveals some of the actions that teachers have taken to improve their performance based on their evaluations. An appendix contains written comments from survey respondents. (Contains 11 tables and 20 references.) (SLD)

Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education, Peer Evaluation, Professional Development, Public Schools, Suburban Schools, Surveys, Teacher Evaluation, Teachers, Urban Schools

Author: Ashbaugh, John B.


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