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Developing the "Will": The Relationship between Teachers’ Perceived Policy Legitimacy and Instructional Improvement


by Jihyun Kim, Min Sun & Peter Youngs — 2019

Background/Context: As part of a nationwide initiative that re-conceptualized teacher evaluation, Virginia issued the Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers on July 1, 2012; these guidelines marked a significant overhaul of the state’s approach to teacher evaluation. Previous studies examined the impact of teacher evaluation policies on student achievement (e.g., Dee & Wyckoff, 2015; Steinberg & Sartain, 2015; Taylor & Tyler, 2012), but there has been little empirical research on factors that lead teachers to change their instructional practices in response to teacher evaluation.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: We focused on an important element of policy implementation: teachers’ perceptions of the legitimacy of teacher evaluation policies. Specifically, we asked: 1) How do teachers’ perceptions of the legitimacy of teacher evaluation policies influence their efforts to improve their instruction? and 2) What school supports are associated with an increase in teachers’ perceived policy legitimacy? Our examination of teachers’ perceived legitimacy of teacher evaluation policies is critically important because individuals’ beliefs affect their willingness to respond to externally initiated reform in productive ways and to generate sustainable changes in instruction.

Research Design: To examine the potential impact of teachers’ perceived legitimacy of teacher evaluation policies on their instruction and the effects of various supports on teachers’ perceptions, we drew on teacher survey data and teacher evaluation ratings from two school districts in Virginia. We collected two years of teacher survey data, and three years of teacher evaluation ratings. Combining two different data sets, we provided evidence of an association between teachers’ perceived legitimacy of teacher evaluation policies and their instructional practice.

Conclusions/Recommendations: Our findings indicate that teachers’ perceived legitimacy of evaluation policies is positively correlated with their likelihood of taking actions to improve their instruction. That is, developing teachers’ perceptions of policy legitimacy seems to be a fruitful strategy for promoting changes in instruction. Moreover, teachers’ perceived legitimacy of teacher evaluation policies seems to have a positive relationship with various school supports, such as principal leadership, professional development, and time and resources.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 121 Number 3, 2019, p. -
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22590, Date Accessed: 12/18/2018 12:26:33 PM

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About the Author
  • Jihyun Kim
    Lehigh University
    E-mail Author
    JIHYUN KIM is an assistant professor in Educational Leadership at Lehigh University. Her research interests include teachers' social networks, teaching quality, teacher turnover, teacher burnout, principal leadership, and teacher evaluation. She has presented her work nationally and internationally and published in Teaching and Teacher Education, and Compare:  A Journal of Comparative.
  • Min Sun
    University of Washington
    E-mail Author
    MIN SUN is an associate professor in Education Policy in the College of Education at the University of Washington. She specializes in using quantitative methods to understand the ways in which federal, state, and district policies affect teaching and learning outcomes. Her interests include teaching and teacher quality policy, school accountability, and school improvement. Dr. Sun’s work has been recently published in peer-reviewed journals of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis and American Educational Research Journal.
  • Peter Youngs
    University of Virginia
    E-mail Author
    PETER YOUNGS is a professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education at the University of Virginia. His research interests focus on education policy effects on teaching and learning in the core academic subjects including state and district policy related to teacher preparation, induction, and evaluation and their effects on teacher instruction, commitment, and retention. Recent publications have appeared in Educational Researcher, Journal of Teacher Education, and Teaching and Teacher Education. He received the AERA Division K (Teaching and Teacher Education) Early Career Award and he currently serves as co-editor of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.
 
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