Education Doctorate

Year Approved


First Advisor

Lindstrom, Michael


Motivating and retaining teachers is a critical element of the educational process. In 2011, Florida law required school administrators to implement a Valued-Added Model (VAM) for teacher evaluation, compensation, and retention decisions. However, the Florida VAM includes complex calculations to measure student learning progress. This qualitative case study was to explore teachers’ professional and personal perceptions of the VAM to determine teachers’ performance, compensation, and personnel consequences. Data collection involved semi-structured interviews with 12 teachers employed at a single Florida school district. Participants held a negative view on the use of VAM for teacher evaluations and merit pay determination. A majority of teachers had a limited understanding of inputs and formulas used in the VAM calculations and few understood how VAM scores related to teaching practices. None of the teachers could accurately describe how the scores were used to calculate the VAM score. Teachers resented that factors beyond their control affected VAM scores, such as the proportion of students with learning disabilities in their classroom, and students’ home life problems based on socioeconomic variables. School administrators need to invest the time and resources necessary to educate teachers on the VAM system and reflect their input in the calculation.

Degree Name

Education Doctorate

Document Type

Doctoral dissertation