Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Teacher tenure in California: A phenomenological study from the perspective of new administrators in Southern California school districts
by Griffiths, Heather M., Ed.D., University of La Verne, 2016, 171; 10140825
Abstract (Summary)

Purpose. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore new principals’ and assistant principals’ lived experiences and perceptions of California teacher tenure law and challenges they faced when determining if a probationary teacher was ready for tenure.

Methodology. Phenomenology was the chosen methodology for this study. Semi-structured, in-depth, open-ended interviews were conducted face-to face with participants in a private setting of their choice to obtain new administrators’ perspectives on teacher tenure. Eleven new principals and assistant principals who served in the capacity of administrator for two years or less and who already went through the evaluation process experience were interviewed representing three southern California school districts.

Findings. The study identified four major themes and thirteen overarching themes as perceived by new principals and assistant principals: job protection, non-arbitrary dismissal, comfort to try new things, difficult to terminate, teacher complacency, brief decision window to determine tenure, lack of diversity in the evaluation process, feedback and coaching, increased years to grant tenure, collaboration, informal classroom walkthroughs, student growth, and professional growth.

Conclusions. The results of the study led to recommendations for improving the tenure system. The study revealed the need for a probationary period longer than two years before granting tenure. Administrators need training and support to assist with due process, difficult dismissal policies, and teacher evaluations to provide teachers meaningful feedback and purposeful coaching. Create diversity in evaluations by including: peer and administrator input; how teachers collaborate and work with peers, parents, students, and administrators; and student growth/learning.

Recommendations. A comprehensive tenure evaluation system should be built based on the conclusions of this study. Future researchers should widen the investigation by replicating the study to include support staff; completing a longitudinal study by looking at state requirements for training teacher evaluators across the nation; conducting studies on computer applications to assist in teacher evaluations; and examining the different dismissal processes/policies in each state to determine where difficulty lies in the removal of ineffective teachers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Liu, Sunny
Commitee: Buenrostro, Samuel, Haque, MD
School: University of La Verne
Department: LaFetra College of Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 78/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational evaluation, School administration
Keywords: California, Evaluation, Teacher tenure
Publication Number: 10140825
ISBN: 978-1-339-96220-7
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