According to the reports of the national sample of public school teachers of kindergarten through grade 6 who participated in the Survey on Teacher Performance Evaluations, the practice of evaluating elementary school teachers is well established in the nation's schools. Teacher evaluation procedures are guided by written policies, particularly at the school and district levels. Evaluation criteria are known by most teachers prior to the process of performance evaluation, and most teachers are evaluated by their school principal, chiefly through formal and informal classroom observation. A large majority of teachers receive both written and verbal feedback following their evaluation, and most can submit a written response or file an appeal at their school.
Most teachers believe their evaluations are an accurate reflection of teaching performance and that they are useful for improving teaching. However, there was a discrepancy between teachers" views of aspects of teaching that should be evaluated and teachers" reports of the aspects of their performance that were evaluated. The greatest percentage of teachers reported that overall teaching performance, subject matter knowledge, classroom management, instructional techniques, helping students achieve, and unique teaching demands should be considered in evaluating a teacher's performance, but a significantly smaller percentage reported that those aspects of teaching were actually considered to a great extent in their last evaluation.
Teachers are most supportive of evaluations used to improve their own skills. Objectives related to improving the quality of teachers in the nation's schools in general, such as using evaluations to discharge incompetent teachers or, especially, to determine teachers" pay levels, met with less approval. However, more teachers thought these two objectives should be a purpose of teacher performance evaluations than reported they actually were at their schools.