Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Barbara A. Bleyaert, EdD

Committee Member

David M. Anderson, EdD

Committee Member

Douglas W. Busman, PhD

Committee Member

Ronald D. Flowers, EdD


The Michigan Teacher Quality and Tenure Reform bill was signed into law in July 2011. The law mandated specific requirements for annual performance evaluation of all teachers and prohibited teacher evaluation as a subject of collective bargaining. The purpose of this phenomenological, collective case study was to describe the lived experiences of Michigan elementary teachers in traditional public schools as they experienced the phenomenon of having their performance evaluated under this state-legislated teacher evaluation policy, to understand the meanings they ascribed to the phenomenon, and to synthesize those meanings to describe the essences of that experience.

Using semi-structured in-depth phenomenological interviews, five elementary (K–5) general education classroom teachers were interviewed. The data were analyzed using a modification of the Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method. A case record, an in-depth case profile was developed for each of the participants, and a cross-case analysis was conducted; themes of control, antithesis, relationship issues, and resilience emerged. Key findings were as follows: four of five participants perceived a loss of autonomy and experienced evaluation practices that focused on test score data, sparked distrust, produced a hostile work environment, and were antithetical to their beliefs and values as professional teachers. There was strong evidence that some districts are using a business practice called forced (or stacked) ranking, which distributes teacher ratings on a bell curve. Participants struggled to make sense of their experience. There is no evidence in the literature that supports the evaluation practices described by participants or the use of forced ranking to improve teacher quality.