First Advisor

Mary K. Kinnick

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Community College Education






Educators -- Rating of -- United States, Education, Higher -- Personnel management -- United States, Employees -- Rating of -- Law and legislation -- United States



Physical Description

1 online resouce (264 pages)


Purpose. Although performance appraisal is an important factor in the successful operation of organizations, it is often a difficult and threatening task. Traditional approaches to evaluation have proved to be neither effective nor in legal compliance. This problem affects postsecondary institutions, where customary subjective appraisal contributes to undesirable employment discrimination.

This study provides postsecondary administrators with an effective and legally defensible model of performance appraisal. Research addressed these questions: (1) What does statutory law mandate in appraisal? (2) What issues, patterns, and decisions concerning appraisal have been identified through the judicial process, and what degree of consistency has been shown in decisions? (3) What standards are suggested by performance appraisal law and practices? (4) What should constitute an appraisal program for postsecondary education that synthesizes appraisal practices and emerging legal standards?

Federal statutes and court records governing employment practices were examined to identify data. Data were analyzed according to principles of grounded theory development proposed by Glaser and Strauss, and complemented by legal research methodologies recommended by Alton. Appraisal law was summarized, followed by review of current practices identified in appraisal literature. A performance appraisal model for postsecondary education synthesizing legal standards and current practices was presented.

Although statutes governing appraisal apply to all employers, the courts demand less stringent compliance by postsecondary institutions. The judiciary acknowledges prejudice in employment decisions in academia, but implores educators to regulate their own behavior to preserve academic freedom.

In non-academic employment, periodic appraisals should be based on written, objective standards known to employees, that are valid, reliable, and fair; and administered and scored under standardized conditions by trained evaluators. Records must be confidential.

The courts do not require strict compliance by postsecondary institutions; they urge, but do not mandate, that academic employees be treated without bias.

Guidelines are needed to define a non-discriminatory evaluation process for postsecondary employees. This research model presents a first step toward this goal.


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