Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Policy and Leadership

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, 132 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Heinz-Dieter Meyer

Committee Members

Jan Hammond, Sandra Vergari


Annual Professional Performance Review, Educational Reform, Teacher Evaluation, Teacher Experience, Teacher Morale, Teacher Resilience, Teachers, Teacher morale, Educational evaluation, Teacher effectiveness

Subject Categories

Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research


Recent educational reform efforts such as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Race to the Top Initiative (RTT) have exhibited a proclivity to use centralized, top-down reform tactics to improve student achievement. The requirement of states to revise their previous teacher evaluation systems, in order to procure funding from the Race to the Top Initiative, represents a signature example of such tactics. Emerging research suggests that these policies may also unintentionally reduce teachers’ autonomy, deteriorate professional interactions, decrease teachers’ sense of worth and subsequently weaken teacher morale. Additional research indicates that early career teachers tend to respond to educational change differently than that of late career teachers. This study examined the impact of the Annual Professional Performance Review (3012-c) upon teacher morale, while exploring whether this policy may be perceived differently between early and late career teachers. A web-based survey was used to collect data from 235 public school teachers across the Hudson Valley Region in New York State. The study measured respondents’ teacher morale, autonomy, professional interactions, sense of worth, and positive perception of APPR. Findings from the study’s quantitative analysis indicated that a majority of the study’s participants (66.8%) reported disagreement with both the Positive Perception of APPR and the statement “the morale in this school is high.” However, teacher experience did not mediate this relationship. Despite this disagreement, teacher resilience surfaced as an additional finding from this study. For example, respondents indicated agreement with the statements “Teachers take pride in this school” (83%) and “Teachers go about their work with enthusiasm” (68%). Additionally, respondents indicated agreement with the statements, “I receive support from my colleagues” (91%) and “Teachers in this school can rely on their colleagues for support and assistance when needed” (90%).Additional findings were also drawn from the study’s open-ended response and follow-up interviews. For example, some educators noted that the evaluation process prior to APPR (3012-c) lacked accountability and characterized the transition between these two systems as both hasty and overwhelming. In regards to APPR (3012-c), educators indicated a general lack of recognition for factors outside of their control, while adding that much of the time spent on collecting teaching evidence has taken away their ability to develop creative lessons. Other findings signified teachers’ appreciation for receiving regular feedback from their administrators. Several respondents observed that teacher accountability may play a role in developing their professional skills, while other educators discussed the relationships that they maintain with colleagues despite the pressures of APPR. During the course of this study, NYSED and Education Commissioner Elia initiated a transition period for APPR. This change effectively placed a hold on consequences for teacher and principal evaluations related to grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Math student assessments and growth scores on Regents exams until the start of the 2019-2020 school year. New York State’s decision to initiate a transition period presents the opportunity to reconsider a teacher evaluation system that can leverage teacher pride, enthusiasm, and relationships with colleagues to promote instructional innovations.