Student Growth Objectives (SGOs)

SGOs are long-term academic goals for groups of students set by teachers in consultation with their supervisors. For a complete overview click here.

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What is an SGO? How does it differ from SGP?

A Student Growth Objective, or SGO, is a long-term academic goal for groups of students set by teachers in consultation with their supervisors. An effective SGO must be:

  • Specific and measureable
  • Aligned to New Jersey's curriculum standards
  • Based on available prior student learning data
  • A measure of student growth and/or achievement
  • Ambitious and achievable

A Student Growth Percentile, or SGP, is a measure of how much a student improves on his or her NJ ASK score from the previous year as compared to students across the state with a similar academic history. Only 4th-8th grade Language Arts or Math teachers with more than 20 qualifying students will receive a median SGP score. In contrast, all teachers must set SGOs two for teachers who do not receive an SGP score, and a locally-determined number of one or two for those who do receive an SGP score.

For an overview of SGOs click here.
For an overview of SGPs click here.

Who is required to set SGOs?

All teachers working under an instructional certificate, with an assigned roster of students and teaching at least one course must set SGOs. SGOs should incorporate a significant proportion of the school year and/or course. The Department recommends, but does not require teachers to have at least 9 weeks of continuous instruction to set SGOs. In cases where a teacher does not have at least a continuous 9-week period of instruction, either due to an extended absence or short course cycles, SGOs can be set for as much time as is available and provided the teacher has an opportunity to have a significant impact on students' learning during that abbreviated period of time. As an option, districts may choose to require other certified staff such as school counselors, media specialists, athletic trainers, nurses, speech pathologists, and others to also set SGOs.

How do I create a high quality SGO?

The Department has created a significant number of resources to help develop high quality SGOs. To help you navigate resources, below are a few options:

Option 1: If you would like the most complete training with step-by-step guidelines, use the SGO training modules. These have been designed to be used by individuals or small groups.

Option 2: If you are looking for an in-depth written guide, refer to the SGO guidebook.

Option 3: If you would like to evaluate the quality of an SGO, use this optional SGO Quality Rating Rubric.

Additional resources on creating SGOs can be found here.

How can SGOs be adjusted?

SGO adjustments may be made with the approval of the chief school administrator by February 15th each school year. The following is a non-exhaustive list of situations that may warrant adjusting SGOs:

  • The teacher's schedule or assignment has changed significantly
  • Class compositions have changed significantly
  • New, higher-quality sources of evidence are available, e.g. baseline data or SGO assessments
  • An unusual event in the classroom, school, or district has occurred that significantly interrupts student learning, e.g. prolonged school closure
  • The teacher has an extended leave of absence
  • Closer inspection of the SGO has revealed flaws in its construction that make it impossible to use as an appropriate measure of teacher effectiveness

Administrators should work with teachers to review and revise SGOs wherever necessary, ensuring that SGO targets remain ambitious and achievable. For guidance on assessing SGO quality and making adjustments to them, please see the following resources:

Assessing and Adjusting SGOs
This document describes the value of assessing submitted SGOs for quality and making adjustments as needed before the February 15th deadline, including a suggested method for inspecting SGO quality.

SGO Quality Assessment Presentation
This presentation can be used to assist a team that is assessing SGO quality; it describes the components of a high quality SGO and includes SGO samples of varying quality.

Where can I find examples of SGOs?

In conjunction with educators from around the state, the Department has created several exemplar SGOs. These are designed as teaching tools, and come with annotations that explain their strengths and weaknesses. To view these exemplars, click here.

Still have questions?
Step 1: Read our FAQ
Step 2: Review additional resources in our document library
Step 3: Contact us at: or 609-777-3788

*Note that the department is currently working to develop a larger complete set of example SGOs so please continue to check back periodically.