Special Education Teachers’ Perceptions of the Design and Implementation of the Evaluation Process Open Access
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Increasing teacher effectiveness is at the forefront of educational reform. The determination of the most useful methods of assessing teaching effectiveness is one of the most discussed and debated issues in recent years. Two significant problems contributed to the need for this dissertation research. The first problem is the complexity of evaluating special education teaching. The second problem addressed is the lack of analysis of the perceptions and experiences of one of the major stakeholders in the process – the special education teachers.The results of a basic qualitative study surrounding the perceptions of special education teachers on the design and implementation of the teacher evaluation process is presented. Twenty-eight special education teachers of students with moderate to severe disabilities in self-contained classrooms from three different school districts in the District of Columbia metropolitan area were interviewed to determine whether current teacher evaluation practices are relevant to the demands and challenges of teaching in special education. The purposes of this study were to be able: 1) to explore the perceptions of special education teachers of students with moderate to severe disabilities in self-contained placements on the design and implementation of the current teacher evaluation methods used; 2) to give these teachers an opportunity to share their perceptions on evaluation practices relevant to the demands and challenges of their profession; and 3) and to determine recommendations for teacher evaluation that can contribute to the preparation and professional development of special education teachers. The results of the interviews with study participants are outlined in this study. Themes answering the three research questions were defined, described, and supported using quotations from study participants to ensure that it remained grounded in the data. These following themes emerged: (1) issues of relevance; 2) issues of training; 3) issues on feedback received; 4) issues of validity; and 5) suggested changes to the process. Recommendations for practice, policy, and future research are provided.