The Influence of Summative Teacher Evaluation on Urban Veteran Teachers' Instructional Practices

Author/Creator ORCID




Education and Urban Studies


Doctor of Education

Citation of Original Publication



In 2010, many states and local school districts had to create high-quality teacher evaluation systems that considered more than just subjective teacher observations, which school leaders developed, to compete for federal money from the Race to the Top grants. School districts had to develop a multi-tiered way of evaluating teachers based on standards. The goal of the multi-tiered summative teacher evaluation process was to improve teacher instructional practices that lead to improved student achievement based on state standards. However, researchers have found that teacher evaluation systems often fail to provide meaningful information to improve teacher performance, subsequently not impacting student achievement. The goal of this study was to examine how summative teacher evaluation and a schools’ culture shaped the instructional practices and professional growth of veteran Pre-kindergarten to grade five teachers. A hybrid deductive and inductive process was used to analyze the data from the semi-structured interviews. The findings of this study answer the following research questions: To what extent do veteran Pre-kindergarten to grade five school teachers perceive the evaluative processes as influencing their practice? To what extent do veteran Pre-kindergarten to grade five school teachers perceive how their schools’ culture influenced their professional growth? Two theories framed this study, Dweck’s implicit theories of intelligence and Knowles’ theory of Andragogy. Eight (n=8) Pre-kindergarten to grade five teachers who worked in a large urban school district on the east coast, where the state was a recipient of the Race to the Top grant, participated in the study. Four themes became evident from the analysis of the semi-structured interviews: (a) Subjectivity promotes skepticism in the teacher evaluation process; (b) Familiarity with the process aid in teachers’ growth; (c) Teachers take their professional learning into their own hands to enhance their knowledge, skills, and instructional strategies; (d) School leadership matters in teachers’ professional growth. The findings of the research study showed the veteran teachers’ experiences with the summative teacher evaluations influenced their instructional practices, and it is necessary for teachers to have a positive school culture influence their professional growth. Additionally, all participants did what they felt was necessary for their students to obtain academic success.