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UBC Theses and Dissertations

British Columbia principals and the evaluation of teaching Edgar, William


The purpose of this study was to investigate the views of British Columbia principals with regard to the formal evaluation of teaching. Four major concepts were addressed a) the purpose of evaluation; b) the process of evaluation; c) the need for further principal training in evaluation; and, d) obstacles to carrying out evaluation. The sex of principals and years of experience as a principal were identified for further analysis because these variables are absent in the literature on formal evaluation. The data consisted of relevant clauses from all 75 British Columbia school district collective agreements and responses to a survey sent to the members of the British Columbia Principals' and Vice-Principals' Association. The achieved sample is 188 principals. The findings of this study show the conduct of formal evaluation is a responsibility willingly accepted by principals and that it is a function they consider they carry out well. Collective agreements say little about the purpose of evaluation. The majority of principals believe the most important purpose of evaluation is teacher growth and development. Female principals indicate a stronger orientation towards teacher growth and development than males but this difference may also be related to principals' different experience levels. Relatively few evaluations are carried out and only a very small proportion result in "less than satisfactory" reports. Evaluations leading to "satisfactory" and "less than satisfactory" reports are characterised in very different terms by principals. Anecdotal responses support the assertion made in the literature that principals believe they already know who their 'weak' teachers are before conducting an evaluation. British Columbia principals consider time as the primary obstacle to carrying out formal evaluation. Evaluation cycles and site management responsibilities are perceived as the major time consumers. Neither size of staff nor percentage of teaching time were identified as significant time barriers by the respondents. Principals do not label themselves as under-trained for the responsibility of formal evaluator of teaching. Moreover, master's specialty and previous training are not linked to further training needs nor to how well principals believe they do evaluation. Three policy recommendations emerge from this study: (1) to re-assess the role of principal as evaluator in the light of their wider responsibilities; (2) to consider extending the role of formal evaluator to educators other than school-based administrators; and (3) to re-assess the value of formal evaluation as currently practised.

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