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Teachers' responses to feedback from evaluators: What feedback characteristics matter?

by R. Brodersen, Trudy Cherasaro, Marianne Reale and David Yanoski

The importance of teacher effectiveness is well supported by studies that document variation in teachers' abilities to contribute to student achievement gains. All else being equal, students taught by some teachers experience greater achievement gains than do students taught by other teachers. In response to initiatives to increase educator effectiveness as directed through flexibility waivers under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, many states are implementing new teacher evaluation systems. Those states are also seeking information about how evaluators can best use evaluation findings to provide individualized feedback to teachers to improve both teaching and learning. Data from Regional Educational Laboratory Central's Examining Evaluator Feedback Survey were used to analyze teachers' perceptions of feedback provided as part of their district's teacher evaluation system as well as their ratings of the importance of various characteristics of feedback in their response to feedback. The study team then explored how characteristics of feedback and response to feedback are interrelated. Correlational analysis finds that teachers' responses to feedback are related to their perceptions of four characteristics: the usefulness of the feedback, the accuracy of the feedback, the credibility of their evaluator, and their access to resources. Structural equation modeling analysis suggests that in responding to feedback, teachers' perceptions of the usefulness of the feedback and the credibility of their evaluator could be more important than their perceptions of the accuracy of the feedback and their access to resources. Results from this study may be helpful in prioritizing evaluation needs at both the state and district levels for training and guidance on providing feedback. They may also help inform states of additional data needed to improve understanding of how feedback is used and what impact it can have on teacher performance. The following are appended: (1) Analysis sample; and (2) Methods.

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