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A new concern for the quality of education and of teachers is being translated into merit-pay, career-ladder, and master-teacher policies that presuppose the existence of effective teacher evaluation systems. School district administrators must understand the educational and organizational implications of the teacher evaluation system that they adopt, because that system can define the nature of teaching and education in their schools. In particular, the system can either reinforce the idea of teaching as a profession, or it can further deprofessionalize teaching, making it less able to attract and retain talented teachers. The present study focused on the actual operation of teacher evaluation procedures in school systems. It examined not only the instruments and procedures, but also the implementation process and the organizational contexts within which they operate. This approach enabled the authors to observe whether and how teacher evaluation results are used by the organization. It also indicated the broader organizational conditions needed to initiate and sustain effective teacher evaluation practices.

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