Using content analysis, the authors examine the purposes of teacher evaluation in relation to the content items on which teachers are assessed and engage in a comparative analysis of teacher evaluation practices in the U.S.A. from three points in time. The overall findings suggest a disparity between the philosophy of teacher evaluation as a mechanism for improving teaching and the practice of teacher evaluation as a tool for administrative decision making, a disparity heavily weighted in favour of the latter. The authors provide evidence that this disparity is historically rooted and likely to endure.
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