Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Joseph Marcoline, D.Ed.

Second Advisor

Cathy Kaufman, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Robert Millward, Ph.D.


Improving education continues to be at the forefront in the minds of policymakers, administrators, teachers, and parents (Glickman, Gordon, & Ross-Gordon, 2004; Franklin, 2014; Manigiante, 2011). Most states are in the process of implementing policies that base teacher ratings on student learning. Sweeping changes have impacted school districts with the signing of House Bill 1901 (Act 82 of 2012), which required the Secretary of Education to establish a new rating system for evaluating teachers and principals in Pennsylvania. Teacher quality is critical to school improvement. Decades of research has concluded that the biggest factor influencing a student’s educational experience is the effectiveness of their teacher (Darling-Hammond, 2000; Rockoff, 2004; Rivkin, Hanushek,& Kane 2005.) In order to establish effective teacher supervision and ensure teacher quality in the classroom, principals must take an active role in the evaluation process. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the perceptions that elementary principals have on the Teacher Evaluation System in western Pennsylvania. The intent was to gain a greater understanding from principals who have been implementing the system in their elementary schools. The Teacher Effectiveness System, established in 2013 by the Secretary of Education, evaluates teacher performance through classroom observations, building data, teacher-specific data, and other elective data. Principals in Pennsylvania must use multiple sources of data, as dictated by Act 82 to evaluate teachers on an annual basis. The participants included ten elementary school principals currently implementing the Teacher Effectiveness System in Pennsylvania. Demographic data were collected from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and other public websites. Interviews were conducted with principals in order to explore this topic. Findings show that implementing a large-scale teacher evaluation system requires building leadership from the principal. Four significant themes emerged: technology, professional development, data-driven practices, and an instructional leadership model. The research confirmed the importance of a Systems Thinking approach as well as factors to promote effective reform through Fullan’s Change Theory. Gaps were identified in implementation practices that could inform changes for principals, school districts, state departments, and college and university preparation programs. This study concluded that more research is needed to further explore models for teacher supervision and evaluation.