On May 31 the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) released its monthly update on the pilot program it is conducting to develop a new teacher and principal evaluation system, dubbed Excellent Educators for New Jersey (EE4NJ).
Much of the group's work to date has involved studying and developing teaching practice observation instruments that will allow administrators to accurately evaluate teacher classroom performance and provide feedback to the educators. In its most recent update, the NJDOE said it plans to develop a process that will allow school districts, providers and other stakeholders to submit teaching practice observation instruments for review by the department. If an evaluation instrument passes muster with the NJDOE, it will be added to the list of instruments approved for use by districts in the state.
The NJDOE said it will outline this process in more detail and launch it in the coming months. The state is also working to develop or purchase an educator evaluation technology platform to help districts conduct evaluations and collect related data.
Spotlight Program In its monthly highlight, NJDOE also spotlighted one pilot program, that of Bergenfield. It noted that in recent years, Bergenfield has partnered with the University of Washington to train administrators on assessing teachers. Bergenfield's administrators have trained by rating lessons in video examples and by comparing their ratings to those of experts. The practice helps ensure the Bergenfield administrators are scoring teachers accurately.
During this current pilot year, Bergenfield is also double-scoring , a process by which two or more district administrators observe the same lesson live and independently generate scores and observations. A consultant has been hired to conduct and analyze the double-scoring to see how much agreement there is between the scorers.
The summary also noted that Bergenfield has identified the need for ongoing training for observers to distinguish among teaching practice at different performance levels so appropriate feedback can be given to teachers.
Expansion of Pilot The NJDOE announced that the grant applications for districts applying to take part in the teacher evaluation pilot program next year are being reviewed. The NJDOE intends to notify the selected districts in June, and the grant start date is July 15.
Similarly, the successful district applicants for the 2012-2013 principal evaluation pilot program will be notified at the end of June; the start date for that grant is August 1.
Marie Bilik, NJSBA's executive director, serves on an advisory committee for the new teacher evaluation program.