How May Teacher Evaluation Have an Impact on Professional Development? A Multilevel Analysis

Nov. 10, 2013

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 36, (November, 2013), p. 1-11.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study identifies the influential variables for professional development as a teacher evaluation outcome from a teachers’ perspective.
Data were collected through questionnaire.
The respondents were 1983 teachers from 65 Flemish schools.


The findings reveal that the effect of the evaluation system on professional development is limited.
The effects teachers perceive from the evaluation system on their professional development may be related to different characteristics of the evaluation system.

The results of this study show that limited teaching experience(less than 5 years), useful feedback and a positive attitude of the principal are the most important characteristics of the evaluation system.
These characteristics are positively related to outcomes of the teacher evaluation system on professional development.

The authors argue that teachers with limited teacher experience report more effects.
A possible explanation for this finding is that these teachers have a greater need for professional development than their more-experienced colleagues.
An alternative explanation could be that more-experienced teachers have more job security or have obtained tenure.

In the specific case of Flanders, teachers can reach an appointment with more job security after a minimum of three school years.
Because of this increased job security, more-experienced teachers could feel less obliged to undertake professional development activities.
Second, the extent to which the evaluation system has formative purposes has no influence on the effect of the system on professional development.
Third, four of the five features of the evaluation system influence the perceived effects of the evaluation system on professional development.

Finally, teachers’ satisfaction with the performance and evaluation sessions has an impact on professional development.
First, if the relationship between teachers and their evaluators is perceived as more positive by the teachers, they experience fewer effects of the evaluation system on professional development.
Second, if the credibility of the evaluator is rated higher by the teachers, the teachers experience greater effects on their professional development.
Furthermore, leadership characteristics are related to the effects of the system on professional development.
Instructional leadership by the principal is positively related to the effects on professional development.
Additionally, a more positive attitude of the principal toward the evaluation system is related to greater professional development.

This study indicates success factors in the implementation and execution of evaluation systems, like useful feedback, credibility of the evaluator, instructional leadership and a positive attitude of the principal.
These factors emphasize the central role of the evaluator, in most cases the principal of the school, in the effectiveness of a teacher evaluation system.
Especially within the context of Flanders, where schools enjoy a high degree of autonomy, the role of the principal in the implementation of policies, like the teacher evaluation system, is crucial.
However, the study also indicates some limitations of teacher evaluation systems.
The current teacher evaluation system in Flanders was reported to be more effective for the professional development of teachers with limited experience.
But stimulating the professional development of more-experienced teachers is also important. An improvement of the current teacher evaluation system could be a system that encourages more-experienced teachers to engage more in professional development activities.
Another limitation of the present teacher evaluation is the positive correlation between summative purposes and the effect on professional development.

Updated: Feb. 09, 2015