Date of Award

8-2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Patricia Reeves

Second Advisor

Dr. Brett Geier

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard Geisel

Keywords

Principal evaluation, teacher feedback, principal feedback, principal leadership, principal practice, educational leadership

Abstract

In the past decade, K-12 education has undergone many changes, often brought about by national and state policymakers putting a higher emphasis on student outcomes. There are enhanced accountability expectations for all levels of education that have added to the responsibilities of principals. Research can be found on many different areas regarding effective educational leadership. Studies abound to reinforce the need for principals to lead their schools through decisions and actions that are evidence based and data informed. In that body of work, there is a growing attention to the importance of staff, student, and even parent feedback as an important part of the total evidence and data informed decision-making process. There are limited studies, however, that create a current picture of how feedback from the most directly impacted stakeholders actually informs how principals’ performance is assessed and how principal learning, growth, and actions are informed.

The purpose of this phenomenological research was to understand how principals were using teacher feedback to create effective leadership. I was able to interview 10 current principals who are using teacher feedback and investigate how they use such data to be included in the evidence to inform their evaluations. In order to get a thick, rich description of how principals use teacher feedback in a state that does not provide explicit guidance on that process, this study was conducted qualitatively with a focus on common patterns in the data that might suggest an emerging theory of action or lack thereof. Responses from interview questions were put into major themes and sub themes to show a clear organization of the data.

This study captured a deeper understanding of how principals are using teacher feedback to show evidences of leadership. Through extensive interviews, it was concluded that, although it was a state requirement to gather feedback, the principals found great value in collecting the feedback and would continue even it was not required. It was found the principals were able to use the feedback to create both building-wide goals and personal goals. Both goal areas had a focus on educational instruction and on the climate of the building. It was also found in my research that principals valued written comments from staff which allowed them to dive deeper into areas of focus. All principals in the research reviewed their feedback with teachers as a whole group or small focus groups to keep teachers informed of areas they were targeting as goals. This study determined that there was great value in asking for teacher feedback as it relates to increasing effectiveness as a building level administrator.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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