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The issue of teacher accountability has been a part of the educational conversation for three decades, but only recently has this conversation been translated into policy as states begin directly tying teacher evaluation scores in part to student achievement on standardized tests. This qualitative study focuses on a group of teachers who are participating in this new form of evaluation (containing both qualitative and quantitative elements including test scores and lesson observations) and examines how they perceived the process. In particular, the study looks at how their personal reactions to a high-stakes evaluation impacted their instructional decision making in their literacy classrooms. Findings demonstrate that teachers had varying levels of change in instructional practice and that these changes were impacted by a variety of factors including personal beliefs and contextual issues. Additionally, findings demonstrated that participants found the qualitative portion of the model to be highly subjective which was considered especially problematic because of the high stakes nature of the evaluation.

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Copyright 2015 by the National Council of Teachers of English. This document was published with permission by the publisher. It was originally published by Language Arts.