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Leadership Theory in Teacher Evaluation System Research Paper

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Updated: Aug 11th, 2020

Introduction

The effectively designed teacher evaluation systems in K-12 educational institutions are important to contribute to the quality of education in the concrete school. From this perspective, discussing problems in school organizational cultures, it is necessary to focus on issues connected with the development and implementation of the appropriate and well-designed teacher evaluation system that can work to improve the classroom instruction and enhance the students’ performance (Gitomer et al., 2014, p. 3).

However, the formulation of effective evaluation principles in the context of teaching depends on the integration of the leadership theories in the process of developing an efficient system (Kiboss & Jemiryott, 2014, p. 494). This paper aims to present the solution to the problem of a lack of an effective teacher evaluation system in the K-12 institution that is based on the path-goal leadership theory and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed solution.

The Description of the Problem

The K-12 institution located in the small community faced a problem of improving the organizational culture with the focus on developing a new effective teacher evaluation system. The problem was in the fact that the existing teacher evaluation system actively used in the school did not address the primary goals set by the school administration. In this context, the practice of terminating teachers was used as the administrators’ main response to the low-quality performance of teachers.

Thus, the school administration determined such goals of regular evaluations as the improvement of classroom instructions and the professional development of teachers. The second target was proposed in contrast to the practice of regular terminations when the evaluation indicated the poor level of competence in a teacher. The school administrators were also challenged with the problem of developing a consistent system based on the holistic approach and the appropriate leadership theory (Phillips, Balan, & Manko, 2014, p. 29).

The reason is in the fact that the existing evaluation system included only the measurement component, and the teachers’ performance was evaluated with the help of checklists that did not include items for measuring the skills that need further development and improvement. As a result, the school community experienced significant problems regarding the organizational culture and possibilities to develop the teaching staff’s competence without using such radical measures as termination.

The Teacher Evaluation System Based on the Path-Goal Leadership Theory

To plan an evaluation system that can address such goals as the classroom instructions improvement and the teachers’ development, it is important to determine the aspects of the system that can lead to completing the set goals. The effective teacher evaluation system should be characterized by the following features: the dependence on professional teaching standards; the focus on measuring teaching quality factors; the focus on identifying the areas and skills for development; the integration of the administrators, colleagues, and students’ feedback; and the involvement of supervisors (Rigby, 2015, p. 375; Stearns, Margulus, & Shinsky, 2012, p. 4).

The mentioned features are identified with the focus on the path-goal leadership theory developed by Robert House in 1971 (Kiboss & Jemiryott, 2014, p. 495). According to the leadership theory, the success of the path to achieving the goal depends on the leaders’ abilities to be supportive and motivating while assisting others in determining goals, identifying the ways of achieving them, overcoming obstacles, and enhancing the performance (Dikshit & Dikshit, 2014, p. 42; Holloway, 2012, p. 10). In this context, supportive and transformational leadership styles are most often used in organizations to achieve the goals and reduce the level of stress for participants.

The principles of the path-goal leadership theory can be effectively adapted to the education environment and to the task of developing the teacher evaluation system if administrators follow the transformational leadership style and the goals of the evaluation system are set clearly for teachers and supervisors. Also, the assessment protocols need to be reviewed to include measurement and development components along with feedbacks, and supervisors should be selected among experienced teachers who follow the supportive leadership style (Khalid et al., 2012, p. 489; Kiboss & Jemiryott, 2014, p. 494). Therefore, leading the change in the organizational culture of the school and planning the solution to the determined problem, it is important to focus on a range of steps.

The first step is the communication of the goals of creating the new teacher evaluation system to motivate stakeholders to participate in the project. At this stage, the administrator should perform as a transformational leader. The second step is the formulation of professional teaching standards as the basis for the evaluation (Donnelly & Kyei-Blankson, 2014, p. 112). The third step is the selection of supportive supervisors among the experienced teachers for conducting further training and development sessions for low-performance teachers. The next step is the creation of assessment protocols to include measurement and development components, as well as feedback from students and peers related to the teaching quality (Goodwin & Webb, 2014, p. 3).

The following step is the actual collection of the data on teachers’ performance and user instructions. The final steps represent the analysis of the data and the further collaboration of supervisors and low-performance teachers to improve their instructions in the classrooms and teaching skills. From this perspective, using the principles of the path-goal theory and designing the new teacher evaluation system, it is important to focus on both the measurement and development of teachers.

The SWOT Analysis for the Proposed Solution

While applying the principles of the path-goal leadership theory to resolving such organizational culture problem as the teachers’ evaluations, it is necessary to analyze the main strengths and weaknesses of the approach. The adopted SWOT analysis also allows focusing on possible opportunities and threats associated with the development of the teacher evaluation system in the future.

Strengths

The evaluation system based on the path-goal theory is effective in terms of utilizing the holistic and consistent approaches to determining goals and specific ways to achieve them. Thus, the focus on such goals as the measurement of the teaching quality, improvement of the classroom instructions, and development of teachers’ competence allows identifying clear steps that can lead to the system implementation and the completion of the goal.

Weaknesses

However, the theory can be weak to support the development of the new teacher evaluation system if administrators are unable to perform as transformational leaders and experienced teachers lack traits of supportive leaders to provide the necessary assistance to the evaluated staff. The system can also be discussed as weak in terms of the necessity of combining two evaluation goals that are usually referred to in separate evaluation systems (Gitomer et al., 2014, p. 3). Thus, it is a challenging task for an administrator lacking the abilities of the transformational leader to implement the system that can lead to improving the instruction and avoiding the termination procedures in the context of the staff shortages.

Opportunities

The teacher evaluation system based on the path-goal leadership theory has the potential in developing educators with the focus on strong collaborative relationships between teachers and supervisors (Phillips et al., 2014, p. 29). The focus on assistance is important to improve the system and propose more options for increasing the teaching performance and facilitating competence.

Threats

The threat is in the fact that the system can be effectively implemented only in terms of measuring the teachers’ performance or developing the staff without indicating candidates who have no potential for professional growth. In this case, the main goals of the project cannot be achieved completely.

Conclusion

The appropriate choice of the effective leadership theory to direct the changes in the organizational culture is important to achieve the set goals. The development and implementation of the teacher evaluation system in K-12 schools are often discussed as challenging tasks because of the necessity to address multiple goals.

Also, it is important to demonstrate the contribution to increasing the teachers’ competence. In this context, the planning of the teacher evaluation based on the path-goal leadership theory can be discussed as an efficient response to the problem of lacking the well-organized evaluation system in the school. Therefore, much attention should be paid to balancing the measurement and development components in the program with the focus on the transformational and supportive leadership to succeed in the project completion.

References

Dikshit, A. Y., & Dikshit, P. A. (2014). A theoretical study of leadership development at workplace. International Journal of Advanced Research in Management and Social Sciences, 3(2), 39-52.

Donnelly, H., & Kyei-Blankson, L. (2014). Administrator insights, evaluation, and support of new teacher use of educational technology. Journal of Education and Training, 2(1), 110-133.

Gitomer, D. H., Bell, C. A., Qi, Y., McCaffrey, D. F., Hamre, B. K., & Pianta, R. C. (2014). The instructional challenge in improving teaching quality: Lessons from a classroom observation protocol. Teachers College Record, 116(6), 1-32.

Goodwin, D., & Webb, M. A. (2014). Comparing teachers’ paradigms with the teaching and learning paradigm of their state’s teacher evaluation system. Research in Higher Education, 25(1), 1-11.

Holloway, J. B. (2012). Leadership behavior and organizational climate: An empirical study in a non-profit organization. Emerging Leadership Journeys, 5(1), 9-35.

Khalid, A., Murtaza, G., Zafar, A., Zafar, M. A., Saqib, L., & Mushtaq, R. (2012). Role of supportive leadership as a moderator between job stress and job performance. Information Management and Business Review, 4(9), 487-495.

Kiboss, J. K., & Jemiryott, H. K. S. (2014). Relationship between principals’ leadership styles and secondary school teachers’ job satisfaction in Nandi South District, Kenya. Journal of Education and Human Development, 3(2), 493-509.

Phillips, K., Balan, R., & Manko, T. (2014). Teacher evaluation: Improving the process. Transformative Dialogues: Teaching & Learning Journal, 7(3), 28-37.

Rigby, J. G. (2015). Principals’ sensemaking and enactment of teacher evaluation. Journal of Educational Administration, 53(3), 374-392.

Stearns, M., Margulus, L., & Shinsky, J. (2012). Theory into practice: A study to assess the influence of a customized leadership development program on a cohort of aspiring urban leaders. International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation, 7(2), 2-12.

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