The nature and practice of goal setting in teacher appraisal within primary schools

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Janes (née Dobson), Claire
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Educational Leadership and Management
Unitec Institute of Technology
Cardno, Carol
Howse, Jo
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
primary schools
performance appraisals
teachers' perceptions
goal setting
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Janes (née Dobson), C. (2016). The nature and practice of goal setting in teacher appraisal within primary schools. An unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Educational Leadership and Management Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
Goal setting in teacher appraisal forms a large part of the performance management requirements within New Zealand schools. This study aims to identify the strengths and weaknesses of performance goals and how they are set and can impact on the improvement of teaching and learning within performance appraisal in New Zealand primary school settings. A qualitative study was undertaken within two Auckland primary schools which had recently undergone management changes. A total of four leaders and six teachers from both schools were interviewed to obtain a leadership perspective and teaching perspectives on how goal setting in teacher appraisal is used within their schools. Documentary evidence from each school was also analysed to compare the teachers’ and leaders’ responses with the school’s stated policy and procedures on performance management. The key findings indicated that when used in schools without shared understandings and common language, goals are a weak aspect of performance management. However, where goals were used habitually, as part of performance appraisal, there was evidence of improved teaching and learning. The factors involved in efficient use of performance goals included support, feedback, collaborative and reflective practice, productive relationships and critical inquiry. This study reaches the conclusion that goal setting is variable. Some schools are doing this aspect of appraisal very well, others are not. Unless goals are used effectively by teachers and leaders, they could be viewed as a defective element of teacher appraisal. An important implication for practice is that performance goals are more likely to strengthen teacher appraisal when school leaders, teachers and policy makers are in agreement. Regular conversations and reflection about performance goals can have a significant impact in teaching and learning, resulting in improved student outcomes.
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