Date of Award

Fall 1-6-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Hongli Li

Second Advisor

Dr. Audrey Leroux

Third Advisor

Dr. Kevin Fortner

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Lee Branum-Martin


Classroom observations have been increasingly used for teacher evaluations, and thus it is important to examine the measurement quality and the use of observation ratings. When a teacher is observed in multiple classrooms, his or her observation ratings may vary across classrooms. In that case, using ratings from one classroom per teacher may not be adequate to represent a teacher’s quality of instruction. However, the fact that classrooms are nested within teachers is usually not considered while classroom observation data is analyzed. Drawing on the Measures of Effective Teaching dataset, this dissertation examined the variation of a teacher’s classroom observation ratings across his or her multiple classrooms. In order to account for the teacher-level, school-level, and rater-level variation, a cross-classified random effects model was used for the analysis. Two research questions were addressed: (1) What is the variation of a teacher’s classroom observation ratings across multiple classrooms? (2) To what extent is the classroom-level variation within teachers explained by observable classroom characteristics? The results suggested that the math classrooms shared 4.9% to 14.7% of the variance in the classroom observation ratings and English Language and Arts classrooms shared 6.7% to 15.5% of the variance in the ratings. The results also showed that the classroom characteristics (i.e., class size, percent of minority students, percent of male students, percent of English language learners, percent of students eligible for free or reduced lunch, and percent of students with disabilities) had limited contributions to explaining the classroom-level variation in the ratings. The results of this dissertation indicate that teachers’ multiple classrooms should be taken into consideration when classroom observation ratings are used to evaluate teachers in high-stakes settings. In addition, other classroom-level factors that could contribute to explaining the classroom-level variation in classroom observation ratings should be investigated in future research.