What Supports Do Elementary Principals Need In Order to Implement Teacher Evaluation?
Mancinelli, John Lawrence
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Both nationally and at the state level, educational reform is focusing on the improvement of classroom instruction. Recently, Washington State enacted the Teacher/Principal Evaluation Pilot (TPEP) to define evaluation criteria intended to measure effective professional practices, including classroom instruction. This exploratory survey study sought to describe the perceptions of Washington State elementary principals regarding their professional development needs for implementation of the new evaluation criteria. The survey consisted of 5 parts totaling 25 questions and was disseminated to 1,897 elementary principals with a return rate of 354. While the state effectively disseminated initial information about the evaluation criteria through local Educational Service Districts (ESDs), some policy inconsistency appears to have developed between the school district and building level in terms of implementation support for principal leadership activities, learning behaviors, and preferred learning topics. Responses indicated that principals rarely engage in social learning activities that would prepare them as a group to consistently and reliably interpret the criteria on the evaluation. Also, few principals identified a strong desire to learn about collaborative structures within their school, which increases concerns about the sustainability of the TPEP policy, because of the need to develop shared understandings of the language and the expectations. Fostering such an understanding may comprise the next phase of development.