Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Conducted in two phases, this study explored administrators' perceptions of the phenomena, "marginal teachers"--teachers whose overall performance is described as below district standards. Phase I surveyed 339 administrators to determine their perceptions of the in-class behavior as they rated two categories of marginal teachers, (1) those who, with proper interventions, can be saved from dismissal, and (2) those whom principals would dismiss immediately given the opportunity. As a group, marginal teachers were rated lowest in employing appropriate questioning techniques, exhibiting classroom management skills, using appropriate praise, and conveying expectations for student behavior and achievement. Administrators rated the "dismiss" category significantly lower on each of the 12 variables;Phase II surveyed 223 principals to determine: (1) their perceptions of marginal teachers' in-class behavior and out-of-class characteristics; (2) the number of teachers who may be described as marginal; (3) the principals' perceptions of their districts' evaluation policies; and (4) the extent to which certain restraining factors influence their decisions to communicate their concerns to the marginal teacher;The results suggested that 11 percent of the staff supervised by principals can be described as marginal; yet, 83 percent of the marginal teachers can be saved from dismissal where proper interventions are provided. The largest percentage of marginal teachers were described as failing to effectively: (1) motivate students; (2) teach to an objective; and (3) convey expectations for student achievement. Fifty-one percent of the school districts provide a formal assistance program requiring Job Improvement Targets; thirty-five percent of such formal assistance programs require multiple evaluators and result in more positive perceptions of the effectiveness of the evaluation program. The factor which contributes the most to the principals' hesitations to communicate their concerns to marginal teachers was related to having to be harsh with a teacher who was viewed as a "good citizen."



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Jacqueline K. Mitchell



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160 pages