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Examining the demands of teacher evaluation: time use, strain and turnover among Tennessee school administrators

Seth B. Hunter (Education Leadership, College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA)
Luis A. Rodriguez (Education Leadership and Policy Studies, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University, New York, New York, USA)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 2 September 2021

Issue publication date: 11 October 2021




Recent teacher evaluation reforms around the globe substantially increased the number of teacher observations, consequently raising observers' (typically school administrators') observational loads. The purpose of this study is to examine associations between observational loads and school administrator turnover, reported time use and strain.


The study uses education administrative data from the state of Tennessee to examine the link between observational loads and school administrator outcomes of interest. The results present credible regression estimates that isolate variation in observational loads within schools over time and within observers over time.


The evidence suggests individual school administrators allocate a set amount of time to observations that is insensitive to observational load and seemingly assign observations to colleagues strategically. School administrator reports do not suggest observational loads are associated with negative unintended consequences on administrator strain or observer turnover.


The study contributes to the literature on teacher evaluation by shedding light on how the constraints posed by an evaluation system may affect the work of school administrators. It also extends the job demands-resources theory that describes worker responses to new job demands.



The authors would like to thank the Tennessee Education Research Alliance and Tennessee Department of Education for helpful feedback.

Research funding: The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.


Hunter, S.B. and Rodriguez, L.A. (2021), "Examining the demands of teacher evaluation: time use, strain and turnover among Tennessee school administrators", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 59 No. 6, pp. 739-758.



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