On March 28, the New Jersey Department of Education announced $2.4 million in available grant funding for 20 new districts to participate in the second year of the pilot program which seeks to develop the state’s new teacher evaluation program. The funding will also support the continued participation of the 10 districts currently in the pilot program. District grant applications are due on April 26, 2012
The centerpiece of the Effective Educators for New Jersey (EE4NJ) program involves developing methods for using measures of student performance in completing a teacher’s evaluation. The department has been careful to note that teachers would not be evaluated on the basis of a single consideration such as test scores, but on multiple measures that include both student learning outcomes and effective practice. The original outlines of the teacher evaluation plan required 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation to come from measures of student achievement.
However, NJDOE’s announcement last week noted that, as part of its ongoing review of the program, it would make refinements to the pilot program for next year. Among the changes: more flexibility in measures of student outcomes for teachers who teach non-tested subjects and grades. For example, student performance measures will not have to make up 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation if the teacher works in a subject or grade that is not tested at a statewide level. Those teachers make up the majority of New Jersey instructors.
The department will also require unannounced observations; and require new observation processes to ensure rater consistency and accuracy, including the use of external observers and double-scoring of some sessions.
Schools Currently Participating Currently 10 districts, 19 School Improvement Grant (SIG) schools and the Newark schools are implementing the new evaluation system as part of the state’s first year pilot plan. The districts are: Alexandria Township (Hunterdon), Bergenfield (Bergen), Elizabeth (Union), Monroe Township (Middlesex), Ocean City (Cape May), Pemberton Township (Burlington), Red Bank Borough (Monmouth), Secaucus (Hudson), West Deptford Township (Gloucester), and Woodstown-Pilesgrove Regional (Salem).
Steps All Districts Must Take With the statewide rollout of the new program planned for the 2013-2014 school year, there are several steps that all districts – including those not participating in the pilot program – will be required to take during the 2012-2013 school year, including forming a District Advisory Committee to ensure stakeholder engagement; adopting a research-based observation model that includes at least four levels of performance ( highly effective, effective, partially effective and ineffective); and training administrators, teachers and the evaluators on the framework. The NJDOE has specific deadlines for reaching these and other milestones during the coming year.
While districts will not be required to adopt an evaluation model from an approved list of providers, the framework used must meet a list of department criteria. Details of the criteria were included in a memo updating chief school administrators and charter school lead persons on the educator evaluation system implementation.
Memo to Chief School Administrators (3/28/12)
Teacher Evaluation Will Grow to 30 Districts Next Year (2/14/12)
Profile of Charlotte Danielson, architect of a teacher evaluation system (Jan/Feb 2012)
NJDOE Excellent Educators for New Jersey (EE4NJ) website
10 Districts Selected for Teacher Evaluation Pilot (9/1/11)