Achieve NJ

AchieveNJ is structured around several guiding principles:

  • Educator effectiveness can and should be measured to ensure our students have the best teachers in the classroom.
  • Evaluations should always be based on multiple measures that include both learning outcomes and effective practice.
  • To avoid penalizing teachers who work with our highest-needs students, evaluation criteria should be based on student progress and not absolute performance.
  • Timely feedback and quality professional development, tied to evaluations, are essential to help educators continuously improve.
  • Evaluation and support systems should be developed with significant input from educators.
  • Tenure and other forms of recognition should be based on effectiveness

Student learning will be evaluated through a variety of measures, including both traditional assessments and portfolios of student work, and will never be based on a single test score alone. Teacher evaluations will be assessed on two different student growth indicators – Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs), which are based on the NJ ASK test, and Student Growth Objectives (SGOs), which educators set with approval from their supervisors, and track over the course of a school year. For example, an SGO for a 2nd Grade Reading teacher might be to have 80% of students increase one proficiency level in reading as measured by the Text Reading and Comprehension (TRC) Assessment. Similarly, principals will be measured on school-wide SGP scores, the aggregate SGO scores of teachers in their schools, and Administrator Goals, which are measurable goals of school-based student performance that the principal sets with his or her superintendent – such as graduation rates or scores on AP courses.

Observations of instructional practice will be conducted according to teacher and principal evaluation instruments selected by districts. Observations of teachers will be conducted by principals or other supervisors who have been appropriately trained on the evaluation instrument, and all teachers will have at least three observations. New teachers and those in need of extra support will also benefit from multiple observers. In evaluating a principal's instructional practice, observations will be conducted by the superintendent or his designee and may include a school walk-through, observations of staff or parent meetings, or observations of assemblies.

The TEACHNJ Act delegates to the Department of Education and Commissioner the authority to set the standards for evaluation systems, including the relative weights given to the components of educator evaluations. For teachers, the proposed regulations differentiate between teachers of tested and non-tested grades and subjects. Each year, the Department will post the weights for the next school year by April 15. For the 2013-2014 school year, the following weights will apply:

Teachers in Tested Grades and Subjects

  • 35 percent based on Student Growth Percentile (SGP) data.
  • 15 percent based on Student Growth Objective (SGO) data from 1 or 2 teacher-set SGOs.
  • 50 percent based on classroom observations.

Teachers of Non-tested Grades and Subjects

  • 85 percent based on classroom observations.
  • 15 percent based on SGO data from two teacher-set SGOs.

Principals, Vice-Principals (VPs), and Assistant Principals (APs)

  • 30 percent of a principal's overall evaluation rating is based on the observations of a principal's on-the-job performance by the superintendent, or his designee.
  • 20 percent is based on a state-developed leadership rubric measuring how well a principal implements the new evaluation system.
  • 50 percent is based on various measures of student achievement, which depend on the type of school the principal leads and the availability of SGP data.
  • 10 percent is calculated by taking the average of teacher SGOs.
  • 40 percent is a combination of the school-wide SGP score and the Principal Goal score. The balance of these weights depends on whether a school leader is identified as a Multi-Grade SGP Principal, a Single-Grade SGP Principal, or a Non-SGP Principal.

The primary goal of these new evaluation systems is to create professional development opportunities that are uniquely tailored to educators. This will occur both during the school year, through more frequent feedback from observations and tracking of student learning data, and through the traditional summary conference at the end of the year which will serve to inform the educator's next individual professional development plan.

Teachers and principals have engaged directly in all steps of the planning and implementation of AchieveNJ. The decisions outlined today were largely developed collaboratively with educators over a two-year pilot program across the state. In addition to the Evaluation Pilot Advisory Committee (EPAC), which has guided state evaluation policy development, all districts across the state have formed local advisory committees and all schools have formed School Improvement Panels as required by law. These groups are intended to ensure educators have a voice in shaping and conducting evaluations in their schools.

The list below includes a host of resources for school communities about the evaluation system-Achieve NJ for the 2013-14 school year. Feel free to contact us with any additional questions.