Do High School Teachers Alter Classroom Practice Due to Evaluation? Evidence From North Carolina’s Career Status and Teacher Evaluation Policies

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The purpose of this study is to determine if teachers perceive evaluation as providing the motivation and feedback to change classroom practices in a context where teacher evaluation carries varied stakes for tenured versus untenured teachers. This mixed methods case study of four high schools in a single district in North Carolina uses survey and interview data collected from teachers in the 2016–2017 school year to explore teacher perceptions and examine differences between career (tenured) and probationary (untenured) teachers. A conceptual framework is developed utilizing research on how teachers changed practice based on other accountability initiatives. The overall sample of teachers did not perceive the evaluation policy to be high stakes or impacting their practice; however, there were statistically significant differences between the perceptions of tenured teachers and untenured teachers on the survey. Interview statements supported the quantitative findings. The results highlight a need for a better understanding of how evaluation policies may influence teacher practice, particularly among those who have limited career protections, including beginning teachers who lack tenure.