Fine Arts Teachers' Perceptions of Student Growth Portfolios as an Element of Teacher Evaluation

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Austin Peay State University
The primary purposes of this study are to describe (a) fine arts teachers' perceptions of the portfolio model as a summative evaluation measure and (b) to determine how fine arts teachers use their summative evaluation scores to inform their teaching practice. An additional purpose is to understand how teachers' level of overall effectiveness scores have changed since implementing the Tennessee Fine Arts Student Growth Portfolio Model. Participants of the study were fine arts teachers with at least 4 years of full time teaching experience in their discipline and who had participated in the student portfolio system for a minimum of 2 years. Twenty-eight high school fine arts teachers from five districts across the state completed the survey portion of the study. Of the 28 survey participants, 16 were female and 12 were male; all but three were White; most (n = 22) were tenured and 16 of the 28 had at least a master’s degree. Six teachers participated in follow-up semistructured interviews. Of the six, four were female and two were male; all were White theatre teachers. This study used a convergent mixed methods design. Participants completed the Perceived Value of Teacher Portfolios Questionnaire developed by Tucker et al. (2003). The survey was completed online and analyzed using descriptive analysis. Semistructured interviews were conducted using videoconferencing software and analyzed manually using in vivo coding. Findings indicate that fine arts teachers had a negative perception of the fairness, feasibility, utility, and accuracy of the student growth portfolio as an element of teacher evaluation. Participants reported issues with artifact manipulation, technology, depth and timeliness of feedback, teacher time requirements and efficiency of the portfolio system, and mistrust and integrity of peer reviewers as factors contributing to their negative perception of the portfolio system. Implications for research include study expansion to include a wider range of grade levels, urban and rural population centers, and relative wealth of the school system. Implications for practice include providing adequate and ongoing training to teachers and peer reviewers, access to required technologies, and ensuring that peer reviewers are selected based on a record of teaching excellence.
Portfolios in education, Teaching -- Evaluation