Marie S. Bilik, NJSBA executive director, was named to an advisory committee for the Excellent Educators for New Jersey (EE4NJ) teacher-evaluation pilot program.
The New Jersey Department of Education on Monday notified Bilik that she would serve with 20 other stakeholders on the Evaluation Pilot Advisory Committee that will provide assistance to the department as it evaluates the success and obstacles in the EE4NJ pilot program of teacher assessments.
Earlier this month, the state Department of Education announced that 10 New Jersey school districts will take part in a $1.1 million state-funded pilot project to develop a teacher-evaluation system based partly on teacher practice and student performance. The purpose of the EE4NJ program is to obtain feedback from the districts in the pilot program, so the department can make adjustments before implementing a statewide teacher evaluation system in 2012.
Panel’s Focus The EE4NJ Evaluation Pilot Advisory Committee will collaborate with representatives from the 10 pilot school districts, and advise and communicate with the Department of Education about necessary information about the teacher evaluation system.
The advisory panel will focus on student assessments, as well as subjects that do not have statewide assessments; how to effectively use data to measure academic growth of students; and obtaining feedback from educators.
The panel is expected to present written recommendations to the Department of Education by the end of June 2012.
Other members on the advisory committee include teachers, school administrators, and higher education. A full roster of the committee’s members can be found in the state Department of Education’s letter to Bilik.
Program Directives Under the EE4NJ pilot program, districts will have flexibility in implementing evaluation frameworks of teachers. However, all districts involved in the pilot program are expected to follow several core concepts:
- Teachers should never be evaluated on the basis of a single consideration such as test scores, but on the basis of multiple measures that include both learning outcomes and effective practice, with approximately 50 percent associated with each.
- Where applicable, the part of the teacher evaluations based on "learning outcomes" should include, but is not limited to, progress on statewide assessments such as NJ ASK. In untested grades and subjects, student progress might include a focus on student work or locally determined criteria.
- To avoid penalizing teachers who work with high-needs students, evaluation criteria should be based on student progress and not absolute performance.
- A four-tiered system of teacher ratings will be used, ranging from "ineffective" and "partially effective," to "effective" and "highly effective."
- Districts should provide a direct link between the results of the evaluation and professional development opportunities to help teachers at all levels continuously improve.
- Any personnel consequences connected with evaluations remain a matter of local decision and applicable state law, and are not an element of the pilot program.
Pilot Districts The 10 pilot districts, selected from over 30 applicants, include: Alexandria Township, Bergenfield, Elizabeth, Monroe Township in Middlesex County, Ocean City, Pemberton Township, Red Bank, Secaucus, West Deptford and the Woodstown-Pilesgrove Regional School District. In addition, the Newark school district, as well 18 individual schools considered to be persistently underperforming by the U.S. Department of Education, will participate in the EE4NJ pilot project through separate grant funding.
A new system of teacher evaluations is considered by the administration as a springboard to other reforms, such as renewable tenure, elimination of seniority as the sole criterion for job retention during a reduction in force, and merit compensation.