Improving teacher appraisal through action research: One school’s journey
Brinsden, Karen E.
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Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1610
The success of educational organisations is dependent upon the quality, commitment and performance of the people who work for them. Effective performance appraisal is one system aimed at improving teacher performance. This research set out to evaluate current teacher appraisal documentation and practice in the researcher’s own school, a large South/East Auckland co-educational secondary school, and to collaboratively implement changes that lead to improved practice. Following the implementation, the improvements were evaluated and a model of improved teacher appraisal established. This research utilised action research methodology based on the Problem Resolving Action Research Model (Piggot-Irvine, 2002), involving reconnaissance, implementation and evaluation cycles. Action research was an appropriate methodology for conducting research in the educational setting as it provided a framework to work within, on the grounds that both action and research were intended outcomes. The qualitative research analysed existing teacher appraisal related documentation at both the school and government level. Additional qualitative data were gathered from a staff questionnaire and a focus group interview as part of the reconnaissance cycle. Changes to the appraisal practice were implemented as part of the intervention cycle and then assessed with staff through an evaluation questionnaire. The key findings revealed that the implemented changes led to improved appraisal practice as perceived by the staff however, specific areas within the reviewed practice were highlighted as requiring further development. The recommendations arising from this research relate to these areas and comprise of amendments to the appraisal policy, professional development for staff on the appraisal process including specific training for appraisers and appraisees, and dedicated time to complete the process to acknowledge the value of appraisal as one means of improving the quality of teaching and learning. For appraisal to be effective, it is important that staff have ownership of the process and are collaboratively involved in the ongoing review of policy and procedure associated with appraisal.