Educators’ perceptions of student surveys in relation to other performance measures in teacher evaluations : a multiple case study.
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Alsbrooks, Ethel, 1974-
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This multiple case study examined educators’ perceptions about the use of student perception surveys in relation to other performance measures in the formal teacher evaluation process. The examination of teachers’ perceptions revealed inequities in this process, especially in the use of student perception surveys. Participants revealed that linking student perception surveys to their annual evaluation exposed them to students’ unconscious and unintentional biases; therefore, they felt these surveys should not be used as part of their formal evaluation process. In most teacher evaluation instruments, each component has a specific weight (Taylor & Tyler, 2012). Participants interpreted the unequal weight distribution as an unfair advantage in the overall points earned for their evaluations. Many stakeholders also expressed concern about the fairness and validity of several models. A gap in the literature revealed inequities surrounding the use of student perception surveys in this process. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to shed light on teacher perceptions about the performance measures in teacher evaluations and to pinpoint the use of student surveys as inclusive measures in this process. Four study participants who taught a variety of grade levels and subjects were chosen from two states using social media outlets. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and open-ended journal responses. The three themes that emerged from the comparative analysis of data were the use of subjective versus objective evaluation components, evaluation frequency and the use of student perception surveys to guide professional development. Student perception surveys were offered far less during a school year in comparison to the number of classroom observations conducted by a teacher’s evaluator in the formal evaluation process. As a result, study participants viewed student perception survey data as effective method for informing teachers about their professional development needs but not a valuable tool to use in the formal evaluation process. In the evaluation process, teachers’ desired greater voice and involvement in decision-making and felt that many students were not capable of knowing how to respond to surveys that were generated from large databanks.