How is AchieveNJ different?
There are many differences between AchieveNJ and the old evaluation system. After two years of piloting in 30 districts that contain over 14,000 educators, AchieveNJ has been created to better align educator evaluation with best practices that lead to improved student outcomes. Our new AchieveNJ evaluation and support system is structured around several guiding principles; each one describes improvements from the previous system.
- Educator effectiveness can and should be measured to ensure our students have the best teachers in the classroom. A three-year study by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently affirmed the impact of evaluations and showed that huge variations exist between the most and least effective teachers — in some cases, up to an 11-month difference in student learning.
- Evaluations should always be based on multiple measures that include both learning outcomes and effective practice. No teacher or principal should ever be assessed based on test scores alone, much less a single test. Therefore, AchieveNJ includes a combination of student growth on objective measures and observations of a teacher's classroom practices and a principal's leadership practices conducted by appropriately trained observers.
- Timely feedback and high-quality professional development, tied to evaluations, are essential to help educators improve. Evaluations provide educators with more opportunities to engage in high-quality professional conversations and nuanced data that can be used to tailor professional development to staff needs. Evaluations that do not contribute to these types of growth and development offer limited value.
- Evaluation and support systems should be developed with significant input from educators. We have been working every step of the way over the past two years with those most affected: teachers and principals.
- Tenure and other forms of recognition should be based on effectiveness. As codified in the new tenure law passed in 2012, educators should be recognized and rewarded based on the outcome of meaningful evaluations rather than simply time served.
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