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Assessment and accountability has been a major influence in public education since the introduction of No Child Left Behind and continue to influence teachers and students with the signing of Race to the Top. In Florida, the value-added model (VAM) is beginning to be implemented into teacher evaluations. These evaluations take into account student gains on NCLB assessments and formal instructional observations. However, teachers have had very little say in the implementation of this new law and the Common Core State Standards. When it comes to teacher understanding of a policy, teacher understanding can play a role in how teachers implement and approach a policy. This instrumental qualitative study (Stake, 1995) focused on the role of VAM and merit pay play in how teachers view their work in the school and school community. Using Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory (1984), Control-Value Theory (Pekrun, 2006), and the emerging model from my preliminary study (Pressley, 2014) I focused on how VAM and merit pay impacts teachers' motivation to change their instruction. This study focused on 13 elementary teachers from schools with different grades (one A, two B, and two C) with three teachers from all but one school (C2). Overall, I found that the teachers had limited knowledge of VAM and had negative feelings about VAM being part of their evaluations. These feelings were based on the low value and low control teachers felt regarding their student test scores that are used to determine a VAM score. The teachers did not feel that VAM drove their changes in instruction; however, teachers were still changing instruction. The changes were made either for higher observation scores, student learning or were district mandated. When it came to merit pay, ten of the thirteen teachers did not want to give up tenure for merit pay. The teachers felt there could be mixed impact on the school community because of merit pay depending on the sense of community between teachers within the school or grade level team. Lastly, even though the teachers had negative feelings regarding VAM the teachers were not against teacher accountability. Based on these findings, implications for future research and practice are considered.
Effective Teaching, Merit Pay, Teacher evaluation, Teacher perspective, Value-added model
Date of Defense
July 14, 2015.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Alysia D. Roehrig, Professor Directing Dissertation; Kathy Clark, University Representative; Susan Losh, Committee Member; Jeannine Turner, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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