Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Portfolios in education--Iowa--Evaluation; School administrators--Iowa--Decision making; Teachers--Iowa--Rating of;


This qualitative study explored the thought processes of administrators as they reviewed and judged second-year teacher artifacts (a portfolio) relative to the Iowa teaching standards and criteria (ITS/criteria). In addition, data was collected pertaining to the tools principals used as they conducted portfolio evaluation and the amount of bearing the portfolio had on a licensure decision.

Data for the study was gathered via a think-aloud process in combination with guided interview questions. Nine principals participated in the study; three each from elementary, middle, and high school. The nine principals were also representative of rural, suburban, and urban geographic/demographic regions. The think-alouds and ensuing interviews were audio-recorded and then transcribed. The resulting verbal reports (comments) were analyzed and categorized using the constant comparative method. The comment counts were used to report the accumulated data and make comparisons between academic level and between geographic/demographic regions.

The verbal reporting data revealed that the thought processes of the principals were similar. Each review consisted of three distinct phases. Within in each phase, the principals attended to processing activities, judgment activities, and coaching activities. In addition, the principals identified two critical pieces of teacher evaluation as teacher reflection and principal' s observation of teacher.

Findings also made clear the impact of the Iowa Evaluator Training Program (IEATP) on the consistency of evaluation. Principals across academic level and geographic/demographic region used a similar four-step rhythm as they judged artifacts. In addition, a distinct consistency existed in the kinds of artifacts the principals identified as valid evidence of the ITS/criteria. Further, the leadership style of the principals was indicative of the formative nature of the portfolio.

Six distinct tools that principals used while they evaluated were identified and described in the study. In addition, it was evident that, while value was placed on the portfolio, the principals put more emphasis on observation. Principals indicated that the portfolio review would account for roughly 30% of a licensure decision.

The findings from this study were relevant to consistency in evaluation across academic level and geographic/demographic region. The information may help inform continuing efforts relative to teacher evaluation across the state.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

John Henning, Co-Chair

Second Advisor

Mary Herring, Co-Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (xiii, 393 pages)



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