While policy makers have attempted to standardize teacher evaluation, policy is implemented and enacted by school administrators. This study addresses the following question: Considering the legislative efforts to remove control of evaluation from local figures, do teachers perceive school principals as influencing the implementation of state-level evaluation policy and, if so, in what ways? I examined interviews from 14 teachers across four high schools within a district in North Carolina derived from a larger mixed method case study of teacher perceptions of evaluation policy and classroom practice. The results suggest a state-centralized teacher evaluation policy, such as the one utilized at the time of this study, can look vastly different to teachers at the school-level due to principal enactment of the policy. Furthermore, the data suggest the following themes influenced policy implementation: the capacity of principals to evaluate in a timely manner, what a principal chooses to value in a policy, and the perceived effectiveness of a principal as an evaluator of teaching. By taking a closer look at what is happening “on the ground” between teachers and principals in four schools utilizing the same state-level evaluation policy, the lessons learned in this study can help inform future policies.


school principals, policy implementation, teacher evaluation, case study

Author Bio(s)

Amanda Slaten Frasier is a National Board Certified Teacher and holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy from Michigan State University. She currently holds a faculty position at University School at East Tennessee State University. Please direct correspondence to amanda.slaten.frasier@gmail.com.


The author would like to thank Michigan State University Graduate School and the Department of Educational Administration for supporting the initial creation of this work and the A. Richard Wilson University School Faculty Endowment at East Tennessee State University for supporting the work of revising this paper.

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