Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Michelle McCraney


In a small, rural school district in the southeastern United States, elementary school teachers were receiving positive evaluation ratings while student proficiency on state assessments was below the state average. Due to changes in federal and state laws, school personnel evaluate methods have undergone significant reform. The purpose of this study was to answer the guiding research questions of teachers and administrators perceptions toward the value-added model (VAM) of evaluation and how those perceptions affect teacher performance. Taylor's scientific management theory, which suggests examining human productivity through the lens of applied science served as the conceptual framework. Data were collected from semistructured interviews with a homogeneous group of 4 elementary teachers and 4 principals. Thematic data followed an open-coding process to identify categories and emergent themes. The findings revealed that teachers believed VAM had little effect on their instructional practice and principals rarely used VAM data to recommend professional development to teachers. This study included the creation of a professional development project to provide a clear understanding of VAM and a method for analyzing student data to inform (a) instruction, (b) pedagogical and content knowledge in the area of balanced literacy and assessments, and (c) a summative review of student data related to VAM. The study and project have implications for positive social change by providing district and school-based leaders with insight into the effects of many decisions related to teacher evaluations.