- Introduction to AchieveNJ
- Evaluation Implementation Requirements and Timeline
- AchieveNJ for Teachers
- AchieveNJ for Principals
- Student Achievement Data in Evaluations
- Course Roster Submission Requirements
- Professional Development and Support
- AchieveNJ and TEACHNJ
- Evaluation Rubrics and Instruments
- Bidding Process for Evaluation Instruments
- 2012-2013 Teacher Evaluation Pilot
- 2012-2013 Principal Evaluation Pilot
Q: What is AchieveNJ?
A: AchieveNJ is the improved educator evaluation and support system proposed to the State Board of Education on March 6, 2013 for implementation throughout New Jersey in 2013-14.
Q: What is the origin of AchieveNJ?
A: In schools, teachers and leaders have the greatest influence on student learning. Since 2010, the New Jersey Department of Education has been working to improve educator evaluation and supports. The New Jersey Educator Effectiveness Task Force Report, released in March 2011, outlines several steps for implementing an improved evaluation system. These steps have included a two-year pilot that has involved more than 15,000 teachers and principals. Building on this work, New Jersey's historic 2012 TEACHNJ Act — unanimously approved by the state Legislature and signed into law by Governor Christie — mandates many requirements for the new statewide educator evaluation system and links tenure decisions to evaluation ratings. On March 6, 2013, the state Department of Education proposed regulations outlining specific evaluation policies for 2013–14 — the first year of full statewide implementation of this new system, AchieveNJ.
Q: How were the policies and requirements in AchieveNJ developed?
A: The Department of Education engaged with thousands of educators and other stakeholders across New Jersey and consulted significant research to build a new evaluation system that can better measure educator effectiveness. Classroom teachers and representatives of organizations such as the NJEA were consulted every step of the way. Thirty districts, encompassing over 15,000 teachers and principals, piloted aspects of the new evaluation system so that the Department could discover first-hand what works, what doesn't, and what districts should focus on in the first couple of years of implementation. In fact, recommendations from the pilot districts and state advisory committee led to the delay of statewide implementation, providing an additional an year for districts to prepare for the new system.
Q: Why must all districts implement AcheiveNJ?
A: New evaluation policies should be considered in the context of many activities over the past few years. As the Educator Effectiveness Task Force found in 2011, while some schools had strong educator evaluation systems in place at that time, the majority of evaluations were infrequent, ineffective, and failed to accomplish their main goal – providing information to help educators continuously improve their practice. New Jersey's $38 million Race to the Top III award and our successful ESEA waiver application were based partly on our commitment to improving evaluations for all educators. The TEACHNJ Act, signed into law in August 2012, mandated that new evaluation systems based on multiple measures of student learning and teacher practice be implemented statewide in 2013-14. For some districts that already have strong evaluation systems in place, this will likely not be that much of a change but rather an opportunity to build on existing practice. For others, it is an opportunity to begin a collaborative dialogue with local stakeholders to build a more meaningful evaluation system together.
Q: How are AchieveNJ and TEACHNJ related?
A: The TEACHNJ Act is the tenure reform law that was enacted in August 2012. This law defines certain requirements and structures for the new evaluation system in New Jersey, and requires that tenure decisions be linked to evaluation outcomes. AchieveNJ provides the details and support structures necessary to allow districts to implement the law effectively. Please see additional FAQ on this topic and the TEACHNJ Guide, a detailed overview of the law, for more information.
Q: Where can I learn more about the requirements of AchieveNJ?
Q: What are the specified steps that all districts must take in 2012-13 to prepare for statewide implementation?
A: The following chart depicts deadlines and reporting procedures mandated as districts prepare to
implement new teacher and principal evaluations in 2013-14:
|Form District Evaluation Advisory Committee*||October 31, 2012||February 2013 survey|
|Adopt educator evaluation rubrics that include state-approved teacher and principal practice evaluation instruments||December 31, 2012||February 2013 survey;
August 2013 survey**
|Begin to test and refine evaluation rubrics||January 31, 2013||February 2013 survey|
|Form School Improvement Panel||February 1, 2013||February 2013 survey|
|Thoroughly train teachers on teacher practice evaluation instrument||July 1, 2013||August 2013 survey|
|Thoroughly train evaluators on teacher practice evaluation instrument||August 31, 2013||August 2013 survey|
|Thoroughly train principals and evaluators on principal practice evaluation instrument||October 31, 2013||TBD|
*The District Evaluation Advisory Committee is described in the presentation and previous memos posted at http://www.nj.goveducation/AchieveNJ/resources/past.shtml.
**The Department will collect specified information about rubric adoption in both surveys.
Q: How do the proposed regulations for SY13-14 evaluation policies differ from current policies?
A: Even though there are some districts that have been doing educator evaluation effectively in New Jersey, existing regulations have set the bar low for the state. The new regulations increase expectations and rigor for how teachers and principals should be evaluated.
|One measure||Multiple measures|
|One observer||Multiple observers|
|No connection to student growth||Student growth counts|
|No evaluation training required||Comprehensive training required|
|Disconnected from professional development||Aligned to professional development opportunities|
Q: What is the status of proposed regulations and their approval process?
A: On March 6, 2013, the Department of Education proposed regulations to the State Board of Education outlining policies for SY13-14 in accordance with the TEACHNJ Act.
The tentative 2013 timeline for State Board review of these proposed regulations is as follows:
Q: What support will the Department provide to districts in meeting evaluation requirements?
A: The Office of Evaluation will provide targeted support for some districts, and will help those with similar implementation concerns to partner with others to receive support in overcoming these obstacles. Implementation Managers from the Office of Evaluation and County Office staff will provide field assistance as appropriate. Finally, Regional Achievement Centers (RACs) will offer support for evaluation activities in the lowest-performing priority and focus schools.
Q: How are teachers evaluated under AchieveNJ?
A: AchieveNJ relies on multiple measures of performance to evaluate teachers. These measures include components of both student achievement and teacher practice with the following weights in 2013-14:
- Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs) measure achievement gains within 4th- 8th-grade Language Arts Literacy and Mathematics, referred to as the "tested grades and subjects." Using the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJ ASK), SGPs compare the change in a student's achievement from one year to the next to that of all other students in the state who had similar historical results (the student's "academic peers").
- For teachers of tested grades and subjects, SGP counts for 30 percent of the overall evaluation rating.
- Teachers, with approval from their principals, set Student Growth Objectives (SGOs) for their students at the start of the year and are assessed on whether those objectives are met at the end of the year. National (e.g., DIBELS, Advanced Placement tests), state, or district-developed assessments should be used where available to identify the measurable goals for each objective. Teachers also may use collaboratively developed assessments for SGOs, including portfolios of student work.
- Teachers of non-tested grades and subjects are required to set at least two SGOs; a teacher's ability to meet or exceed his or her SGOs counts for 15 percent of the overall evaluation.
- Teachers of tested grades and subjects are required to set at least one SGO; a teacher's ability to meet or exceed his or her SGO(s) counts for 15 percent of the overall evaluation.
- Teacher practice is measured by performance on a teacher practice instrument (e.g., Danielson, Marzano, et al.), which is used to gather evidence primarily through classroom observations.
- Non-tenured teachers will have three required observations each year.
- This includes two long observations (at least 40 minutes) and one short observation (at least 20 minutes) in the first two years of employment and one long and two short observations in the third and fourth years of employment.
- Multiple observers are required.
- Tenured teachers will have three required observations each year.
- This includes three short observations, and while it is not required that short observations be announced, at least one of the three observations must have a pre-conference.
- Multiple observers are recommended.
- All teachers (tenured and non-tenured) must have at least one announced observation with a pre-conference and at least one unannounced observation as part of the three required observations. The Superintendent has discretion to decide whether the third observation is announced or not.
- Non-tenured teachers will have three required observations each year.
Q: Where can I learn more about specific requirements for teacher evaluations under AchieveNJ?
Q: How are principals evaluated under AchieveNJ?
A: Principals receive a rating on 4 or 5 distinct components, depending on whether their school receives student growth percentile scores:
|Components||Measures What?||Measured How?|
|Principal Practice||Job-specific actions related to leading a school||State-approved observation rubric|
|Evaluation Leadership||Activities that lead to the successful implementation of the new evaluation system||State-provided rubric|
|Teacher Student Growth Objective||Average score of all of the SGOs developed by all teachers||Average of teachers SGO performance scores|
|School-wide Student Growth Percentile||Median SGP score of all of the students in the principal's building||Student growth percentile calculated by state.|
|Principal Goals||Building level SMART goals developed to address specific needs of the school||Based on academic goals set by principal|
Q: What are the weightings of each of the components for principal evaluation?
A: Weights are depicted on this chart:
|Components||Multi-Grade SGP Schools||Non-SGP Schools||Single Grade SGP Schools|
Q: How does AchieveNJ provide for fair and effective evaluation of Assistant Principals and Vice Principals?
A: Achieve NJ provides accommodations for assistant principals and vice principals whose job responsibilities may be different than that of the principal. The modifications to the principal evaluation rubric are as follows:
- The state will provide a modified version of the evaluation leadership rubric that may be used.
- The AP/VP may be assigned an average SGO score based on a specific portion of the teacher population for which that administrator has responsibility.
- The AP/VP may set administrator goals that are different than the principal's.
- The AP/VP may be evaluated using the non-SGP school or single grade SGP if the administrator has a role that the CSA determines cannot be fairly measured by the multi-grade school SGP rubric.
The chief school administrator (CSA) will decide if any of these modifications are appropriate for the assistant principal or vice principal in question.
Q: Where can I learn more about the details of AchieveNJ for principals, assistant principals, and vice principals?
A: Please see the AchieveNJ Principal Evaluation Overview and AchieveNJ Assistant/Vice Principal Evaluation Overview guides and the "AchieveNJ for Principals/APs/VPs" section of this website for more information.
Q: How is student achievement measured under AchieveNJ?
A: All New Jersey teachers will set Student Growth Objectives (SGOs) and designate appropriate assessments to measure progress toward meeting these SGOs with the approval of their principal/supervisor at the beginning of the school year. SGO scores will count for 15% of all teachers' summative evaluation scores. Teachers of students in grades and subjects tested by the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (4th-8th-grade Language Arts Literacy and Mathematics) will also receive Student Growth Percentile scores based on the growth of their students over the school year. SGP scores will count for 30% of the summative evaluation score for those teachers. Please see additional FAQ below for more information.
Q: How does New Jersey use standardized test scores to measure student growth?
A: For subjects tested by the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJ ASK), New Jersey measures growth for an individual student by comparing the change in his or her NJ ASK achievement from one year to the next to that of all other students in the state who had similar historical results (the student's "academic peers"). This change in achievement is reported as a Student Growth Percentile (SGP) and indicates how high or low that student's growth was as compared to that of his/her academic peers. The details of how this works can be seen in this video.
Q: How is SGP data used in evaluations under AchieveNJ?
A: Under AchieveNJ, Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs) are one of the multiple measures used to assess teachers and principals whose students are in grades 4–8 and take the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge "NJ ASK" test.
Q: Why did New Jersey develop a growth model to measure student achievement?
A: New Jersey developed a growth model to help answer the question, "How much academic progress did a student or group of students make in one year, as measured by NJ ASK, in relation to their academic peers?" By using Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs), we can answer the critical question: "How much academic progress did a child make during a given school year?" For example, a student with an SGP of 70 in his 5th-grade math class grew as much or more than 70 percent of his academic peers in that subject. Proficiency rates show whether students are performing on grade level, but student growth provides a much more complete picture of achievement and progress. In particular, SGP is able to distinguish high growth from low growth at any scale score on the NJ ASK. A student may be below proficiency in math or LAL, but he or she could earn a high SGP score, which, combined with other evidence gathered as part of AchieveNJ, signals that the teacher's instruction and/or principal's leadership are helping that child catch up. Students at the highest end of proficiency can also show growth – so no educator is ever "penalized" for teaching students of any achievement level.
Q: How does New Jersey attribute SGPs to a teacher?
A: Under AchieveNJ, qualifying teachers of tested grades and subjects (4th-8th-grade LAL and math) are assigned an SGP score, which represents the median SGP (mSGP) score of all of that teacher's qualifying students.
- SGPs are one of several measures used to examine the work of educators under AchieveNJ, and will account for 30 percent of a teacher's overall rating. The rest will be based on classroom observations and goals teachers set for their students at the start of the year.
- SGP data are available only for those who teach LAL or math in grades 4–8 because their students typically have baseline and end-of-year NJ ASK scores.
- Because 3rd grade is the first testing year of the NJ ASK, there is no baseline data to create an SGP for that grade.
- For SGP to be part of a teacher's evaluation, a teacher must have 20 student SGP scores, and students must be enrolled in the teacher's class for at least 70 percent of the school year.
- If two or three years of data are available, a teacher will be evaluated on the best available score for the teacher — either the teacher's median score from his or her current roster of students or the median of all student scores over the available years.
- In order to assign the correct student scores to the right teacher, each district is required to use NJSMART (New Jersey's student record system) to submit information detailing the assignment of students to individual teachers in a given school year. It is crucial that these course roster submissions by the district are accurate so that the Department can accurately link individual teachers to their identified students' SGPs to determine the mSGP. Please see the next FAQ section for more information.
Q: How does New Jersey attribute SGPs to a principal?
A: Under AchieveNJ, principals will be held accountable for schoolwide SGP data if enough tested grades and subjects are taught in their school. These scores represent the median of all qualifying SGP scores in a principal's school.
For principals who lead schools with two or more tested grades or subjects, 30 percent of their evaluation will be based on schoolwide SGP data.
For principals with only one SGP grade or subject, 20 percent of their evaluation will be based on schoolwide SGP data.
Q: Can students who perform at the top range of the Advanced level show growth?
A: Yes, it is possible for a student who scores a perfect or nearly perfect scale score in the first year and a perfect or nearly perfect scale score in the second year to still demonstrate growth relative to other students who also have a history of perfect or nearly perfect scores.
Q: Where can I find more information about measures of student achievement in AchieveNJ?
A; Please see our AchieveNJ Student Growth Objective (SGO) Overview and AchieveNJ Student Growth Percentile (SGP) Overview guides for more information about these components of evaluation. To learn more about SGPs, please see this video on the state Department of Education website: http://survey.pcgus.com/njgrowth/player.html or access additional research and information at: http://www.state.nj.us/education/njsmart/performance/.
Q: What is the district's responsibility regarding growth data this year and in the future?
A: To prepare for the launch of AchieveNJ in 2013-14, the Department is conducting several steps to provide the highest possible quality growth data to all districts.
- All districts began providing Course Roster Submission data through NJSMART as of SY11-12. This data is used to link individual teachers to students as appropriate. In February of 2013, all districts received reports summarizing the data they provided in their SY11-12 Course Roster Submission in order to improve this process for subsequent years.
- All districts will provide Course Roster Submission data for SY12-13 at the end of this school year.
- The Department will use SY12-13 Course Roster Submission data and 2012-13 NJ ASK Student Growth Percentile (SGP) scores to calculate median SGP scores for all qualifying teachers, and will provide that data to all districts in early 2014.
- Going forward, districts will continue to provide Course Roster Submission data through NJSMART and to receive median SGP scores for qualifying teachers each year.
Q: What is a district's responsibility to ensure the accuracy of Course Roster Submissions?
A: Districts are responsible for ensuring that their data is accurate when submitted to NJSMART. Every year, from approximately mid-May to the end of June, a six-week "practice" submission window occurs for all NJSMART data submissions. This practice window gives districts sufficient time to prepare their data and reach out for technical assistance to the NJSMART Help Desk as needed. This helps to ensure district data meets the appropriate technical quality when the official submission window opens in the summer. The Department strongly encourages all districts to submit data in the practice window.
In February of 2013, the Department provided each district with a report summarizing its SY11-12 Course Roster Submission data. The goal for this exercise is to help all districts better prepare for accurate Course Roster Submissions for SY12-13 and beyond. We encourage districts to use the summary reports to check the accuracy of their roster data. As part of this process, districts should consider developing systems to ensure that data submitted is thoroughly vetted. The following resource from the Data Quality Campaign, entitled: "Effectively Linking Teacher and Student Data," might be helpful as you examine these processes: http://www.tsdl.org/resources/site1/general/White%20Papers/DQC_TSDL_7-27.pdf.
Q: What is the purpose of the School Improvement Panel?
A: The charge of the School Improvement Panel (ScIP) is to ensure the effectiveness of the school's teachers. Specific duties are as follows:
- Oversee mentoring;
- Conduct evaluations, including a mid-year evaluation of any teacher rated ineffective or partially effective in the most recent annual summative evaluation; and
- Identify professional development opportunities.
Members of the ScIP must include the school principal or designee, an assistant/vice principal, and a teacher. The principal will have final responsibility for ScIP membership but must consult with the majority representative in determining a suitable teacher to participate. To do this, the association might submit suggested names for the principal to consider, or the principal might meet with association representatives to discuss teacher selection. Principals will not be limited to choosing from among any suggested names. For more information, please see the AchieveNJ School Improvement Panel and Strengthening Evaluation Overview.
Q: How does the School Improvement Panel interact with school and district professional development committees?
A: The School Improvement Panel (ScIP) is being implemented during a transitional period in state-level policies governing professional development (PD) requirements. Changes to PD planning and implementation have been proposed to the New Jersey State Board of Education and will be considered for adoption in June, 2013. Under these regulations, existing requirements for the School Level Professional Development Committee (SPDC) and the Local (district-level) Professional Development Committee (LPDC) will sunset. The school principal will be responsible for school-level PD planning and implementation by using the ScIP, and the superintendent will be responsible for district-level PD work. For detailed information about proposed changes to PD planning, please view the AchieveNJ Roles in Planning for and Implementing Evaluation, Professional Development, and Mentoring Overview. Additional information about the new regulations, including the county-level PD boards and specific requirements for individual professional development plans, will be provided after State Board action.
Q: Where can I find more information about professional development and support offered in AchieveNJ?
A: The AchievNJ Professional Development and Support Overview describes several opportunities for enhanced educator support through new evaluations. The AchieveNJ Roles in Planning for and Implementing Evaluation, Professional Development, and Mentoring Overview describes changes to current school and district level professional development planning processes proposed in new regulations scheduled for adoption by the State Board in June, 2013.
Q: How are AchieveNJ and TEACHNJ related?
A: The TEACHNJ Act is the tenure reform law that was enacted in August 2012. This law defines certain requirements and structures for the new evaluation system in New Jersey, and requires that tenure decisions be linked to evaluation outcomes AchieveNJ provides the details and support structures necessary to allow districts to implement the law effectively.
Q: Which personnel does the TEACHNJ Act apply to?
A: The TEACHNJ Act reforms various elements of the tenure process for all employees who earn tenure under Title 18A, such as teachers, principals, janitors, athletic directors, staff at state institutions and counselors. See the chart on page 2 of this TEACHNJ Guide for a chart depicting the application of the various elements of TEACHNJ to various types of employees.
Q: Does the law apply to pre-school and kindergarten teachers?
A: As long as a pre-school teacher is certified by the State Board of Examiners and is a member of the professional staff of any public district or regional board of education, the law applies.
Q: How do teachers and principals earn tenure under the law?
A: The law links the earning and keeping of tenure to the results of a teacher or principal's annual summative evaluation. Any teacher, principal, assistant principal, or vice principal employed after August 6, 2012 must complete four years of employment to be eligible for tenure under the following evaluation requirements:
- To earn tenure, a new teacher must complete a district mentorship program during his/her first year of employment. After completion of this program, the teacher must be rated either effective or highly effective in two of the three subsequent years.
- To earn tenure, a new principal, assistant principal, or vice principal must be rated either effective or highly effective in two annual summative evaluations within the first three years of employment, with the first effective rating on or after completion of the second year.
Q: How do teachers and principals lose tenure under the law?
A: If any tenured teacher, principal, assistant principal, or vice principal is rated ineffective or partially effective in two consecutive years according to the chart below, that employee will be charged with inefficiency. The charges are promptly filed by the superintendent with the local board of education. Within 30 days of the filing, the board of education shall forward the written charges to the Commissioner, unless the board determines that the evaluation process has not been followed. After permitting the employee an opportunity to submit a written response to the charges, the Commissioner shall refer the case to an arbitrator to determine potential loss of tenure. The chart below outlines these rating combinations and the related actions.
|Year A Rating||Year B (Consecutive) Rating||Action|
|Ineffective||Ineffective||The superintendent shall file a charge of inefficiency|
|Ineffective||Partially Effective||The superintendent may file a charge of inefficiency or may defer the filing until the next year; in the following year (i.e., the third consecutive year), the superintendent shall file a charge of inefficiency if the annual rating is ineffective or partially effective|
|Partially Effective||Partially Effective|
Q: How does the new law impact teachers hired before its passage who are already in the process of earning tenure under the previous law?
A: Any teacher hired before the August 6, 2012 signing of the tenure bill is grandfathered in to the previous 3-year tenure-granting process.
Q: Will summative ratings "count" this year (2012-13) toward tenure decisions?
A: No – the only item "on the clock" is the mentorship year for new teachers. No evaluation outcomes in the 2012-13 school year will impact tenure decisions. 2013-14 is the first year where the statewide system will be in place, and the first year when summative rating "clock" (ie: teachers needing to be rated at least effective for two of three years) will start.
Q: How will the arbitration process be expedited as a result of the new law?
A: There are four grounds for bringing tenure charges (1) inefficiency, (2) incapacity, (3) unbecoming conduct, and (4) other just cause. All tenure charges, regardless of the grounds, will go to an arbitrator. For charges brought for inefficiency, the arbitrator can only consider the following: (1) whether the evaluation failed to adhere substantially to the evaluation process, including, but not limited to providing an corrective action plan; (2) there is a mistake of fact in the evaluation; (3) the charges would not have been brought but for considerations of political affiliation, nepotism, union activity, discrimination as prohibited by State or federal law, or other conduct prohibited by State or federal law; or (4) the district's actions were arbitrary and capricious. Only evaluations conducted in accordance with the rubric adopted by the Board and approved by the Commissioner may be used to bring a charge of inefficiency under this section.
There is no restriction in the law regarding what information can be considered by the arbitrator for the other three types of charges (incapacity, unbecoming conduct, or other just cause).
For all charges, the hearing shall be held within 45 days of the assignment to the arbitrator and the written decision shall be held within 45 days from the start of the hearing. This cap is intended to help ensure quicker resolutions. Arbitrators who do not adhere to the timelines may be replaced.
Q: How will the permanent arbitration panel be formed and assigned?
A: The Commissioner of Education will maintain a panel of 25 permanent arbitrators. Of the 25,
- Nine will be designated by the New Jersey School Boards Association
- Eight will be designated by the New Jersey Education Association
- Five will be designated by the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association
- Three will be designated by the American Federation of Teachers
The arbitrators will have knowledge and experience in the school employment sector. The commissioner will inform the appropriate designating entity when a vacancy exists, and if that entity does not appoint an arbitrator within 30 days, the commissioner will designate one to fill that vacancy. Arbitrators on the permanent panel will be assigned by the commissioner randomly to hear cases.
Q: Does the law allow evaluation information to be made available to the public?
A: No. All identifiable information related to personnel evaluations will be confidential and not accessible to the public.
Q: Do the law and regulations pertaining to evaluations and tenure pertain to charter schools?
A: Every charter school must develop and implement a high-quality, rigorous educator evaluation system, which must be approved by their board of trustees (subject to the review and approval of the Commissioner). The Office of Charter Schools will review educator accountability within the parameters established by the Department's Performance Framework and develop and disseminate guidelines for the establishment of charter schools' educator effectiveness evaluation systems in the coming months. Please visit the Department Charter Schools Website for more information.
Q: What are the teacher and principal practice evaluation instruments and how do they fit into the larger evaluation rubric?
A: The teacher and principal practice evaluation instruments are the specific tools used to assess the competencies of teacher practice. The evaluation rubric refers to the overarching umbrella of all components of teacher evaluation that are combined to generate a summative assessment of performance. These components must be approved by the State in accordance with the TEACHNJ Act.
Q: What are the requirements for selecting evaluation instruments?
A: Teacher (and principal) practice evaluation instruments must be approved by the New Jersey Department of Education. The Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process for state approval of teacher and principal practice evaluation instruments is complete for 2012, and the State-Approved Teacher and Principal Practice Evaluation Instruments Lists have been posted. We recognize that districts may wish to change selected instruments in the future as new and updated instruments become available. New RFQ processes will be communicated directly to districts. Districts will have the opportunity to share information about instrument changes through annual evaluation reporting procedures.
Q: Must districts follow public bidding laws and regulations, in acquiring their approved evaluation instruments?
A: Yes. Note that the instruments on the approved list do not have contracts with the state, necessitating that districts develop their own contracts. Districts should consult with their Business Administrator for guidance. If the BA needs guidance, they should contact their county office of education and consult with the County School Business Administrator.
Q. Can districts conduct sole source bidding if they have very specific requirements that only one vendor can provide?
A. No. The Public School Contracts Law does not include a sole-source exception; therefore, districts must use the competitive contracting process or the sealed bid process pursuant to N.J.S.A.18A:18A-15(d) for the procurement of proprietary services. Sole source bidding is not allowable for New Jersey districts.
Q: Is there a bidding process that will take into account more than price in the selection of evaluation instruments?
A: Yes. A competitive contracting bid is described at N.J.S.A.18A:18A-4.1 et seq. (also referred to as "RFP" or Request for Proposal). A competitive contracting bid is awarded on the basis of price and other factors, and therefore should be written very specifically to meet the needs of the district.
Q. What is the difference between a sealed bid and a competitive contracting bid? Which is more expeditious? What are the rules that determine which can be used?
A. Sealed bids or "IFBs" (Invitations for Bids) are the typical bidding situations that most are familiar with. The sealed bid award is based solely on the "Lowest Responsive/Responsible bidder." A competitive contract is described at N.J.S.A.18A:18A-4.1 et seq. It is also referred to as "RFP" (Request for Proposal). A sealed bid is awarded on the basis of price alone; a competitive bid is awarded on the basis of price and other factors. In all instances, applicants should consult with their Business Administrator for guidance. If the BA needs guidance, they should contact their county office of education and consult with the County School Business Administrator.
Q. What is the quickest way to conduct the bidding process?
A. Sealed bids are the quickest method. In this process, the district submits specifications and accepts the bids in a minimum of 10 days after the advertisement appears in the newspaper. Sealed bids are awarded on the basis of price alone (N.J.S.A.18A:18A-4.5). Districts should confer with their Business Administrator on the appropriate bidding process. If the BA needs guidance, he/she should contact their county office of education and consult with the County School Business Administrator.
Q. What statute or regulations provide authority for competitive bidding?
A. According to the Local Finance Notice (LFN 2010-03) "Guidance on Local Government and Board of Education Procurement" in the development and implementation of a competitive contracting process for "school and district improvement services," districts must comply with the statutory (N.J.S.A.18A:18A-4.1 et seq.) and regulatory (N.J.A.C. 5:34-4.1 et seq.) provisions of the process. The entire LFN is available at http://www.state.nj.us/dca/lgs/lfns/10lfnlis.shtml.
Q. If a district is already working with a vendor, and they want to deepen the work to meet the requirements of the evaluation system, does the district have to go out to bid? What type of bidding is required?
A. This depends on the type of contract the district currently has with the vendor. If the current contract was awarded without bidding, then the district must go out for bids. If the work was publically offered and awarded, but the subject of the contract is materially different, the district must bid for the additional work. Please review the Administrative Code at N.J.A.C.5:30-11.1 et seq. In all instances, applicants should consult with their Business Administrator for guidance. If the BA needs guidance, they should contact their county office of education and consult with the County School Business Administrator.
Q: What are the goals of the 2012-13 teacher evaluation pilot?
A: The goals of the 2012-13 teacher evaluation pilot are to build on successes and lessons learned from Cohort 1 (2011-12) pilot, national research, and other states to refine requirements for a statewide evaluation system; and to continue to actively engage district educators and stakeholders in shaping the new system. To do this, we will facilitate collaboration between Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 pilot districts to expand upon first year's work and share information. We will also continue state and district evaluation advisory committee work and will engage an external researcher.
Q: What are the requirements of the 2012 – 2013 pilot?
A: All requirements of the 2012 – 2013 pilot are outlined in the Notice of Grant Opportunity released on March 28, 2012. Due to federal funding restrictions, two separate NGOs were available: one for Title I LEAs with 100% of their schools receiving Title I funds and having schoolwide status and another for all other districts (excepting Cohort 1 pilots). Both versions of the NGO contain the same evaluation specifications and requirements.
Q: What are the major requirement differences between the 2011-12 and 2012-13 pilots?
A. Major requirement differences are as follows:
- Some unannounced observations are required;
- More flexibility is allowed on duration and number of observations;
- The minimum number of observations differ for teachers of core and non-core subjects; and
- New observation processes are required to ensure inter-rater agreement and accuracy, including use of external observers and double-scoring of some sessions.
Q: How do pilot districts interact with the Department throughout the program?
A: Each pilot district convenes a district-level stakeholder advisory committee to oversee and guide the implementation of the evaluation system during the pilot period. Membership on this committee must include representation from the following groups: teachers from each school level (e.g., elementary, middle, high school) comprising of at least one quarter of District Evaluation Advisory Committee membership, central office administrators overseeing the teacher evaluation process, superintendent, administrators conducting evaluations, a special education administrator, a parent, and the local school board. In addition, the committee must include a data coordinator who will be responsible for managing all data components of the district evaluation system. At the discretion of the superintendent, membership may also be extended to representatives of other groups, such as counselors, child study team members, instructional coaches, new teacher mentors, and students. One member of the advisory committee must be identified as the program liaison to the Department.
Q: What role do educators have in the process?
A: Educators from pilot districts are fully engaged in the program. Teachers and administrators are trained on the teacher practice evaluation instrument. They have the opportunity to join or provide feedback to the district advisory committee, which will regularly inform the Department on pilot progress, challenges, and opportunities for improvement. They will help to shape the new evaluation system and are gaining experience with the system before it is implemented state-wide.
Q: What is the structure of the state-level stakeholder advisory committee? How often do they meet, and are meetings open to the public?
A: The statewide Evaluation Pilot Advisory Committee (EPAC) is comprised of stakeholders that collaborate with and advise the Department throughout implementation of the pilot program. Their role is to engage in outreach to stakeholders and constituencies and to provide feedback about issues and challenges to inform statewide implementation of an educator effectiveness evaluation system. The EPAC has met regularly since September 2011. Because EPAC members are privy to, and provide guidance on, a variety of challenges and issues that pilots are facing in implementation, their deliberations are not open to the public. It is our expectation that many of the issues around implementation will be worked out and course corrections made during the pilot in preparation for statewide rollout.
In addition to the statewide EPAC, each pilot district forms its own advisory committee and appoints members of this committee to serve as liaisons to the statewide committee. Educators in pilot districts are able to present their feedback, questions, and concerns to the district-level advisory committee, which in turn can present them to the state EPAC.
Q: Are informal observations required in the second pilot year?
A: The Department still encourages informal observations and walk-throughs as a best practice, but based on lessons learned from our Cohort 1 pilot districts, we are not requiring them for the second year of the teacher evaluation pilot.
Q: Why has a distinction been made between how many observations core subject teachers and non-core subject teachers receive in the pilot?
A: Mathematics, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies are universally regarded as the core content areas in K-12 to prepare college- and career-ready students. Likewise, recruitment and retention figures across the country show that finding and retaining teachers in many of these subject areas, specifically math and science, is a difficult endeavor. In turn, we believe that honing in on these skills and the related teaching is a critical investment of resources and time. At this time, we are piloting a differentiation in the minimum number of required observations to learn from the field. Please note that the numbers set forth in the pilot are simply minimums. We have not lowered the number of observations for non-core teachers, but raised the number for core teachers. Pilots may choose to observe both their core and non-core teachers at the higher level so that there is no differentiation in the number of observations. LEAs are welcome and encouraged to conduct more observations for teachers they deem to be in need of more attention.
Q: Why are unannounced observations required? Do they preclude having pre-conferences?
A: Unannounced observations are required in order to give the observer a different lens on teaching. Announced observations are also required. Unannounced observations do not necessarily preclude pre-observation conferences, which can happen some time during the week or so before the unannounced observation occurs.
Q: How do the new pilot observation requirements address the issue of capacity for training?
A: There are a couple of ways in which they address capacity issues. In the 2012-13 pilot year, observers are not required to hold a supervisory certification, but must be trained, demonstrate proof on mastery on using the teacher practice evaluation instrument, and be calibrated. This allows others besides the administrators to observe teachers. Also, it allows for educators with subject-matter expertise to be observers, thereby bringing another level of expertise to the evaluation and feedback process. In addition, the total number of minutes required for observations has been reduced except for tenured teachers in the core content areas.
Q. Can teacher or evaluator training be done through turnkey?
A. Yes. In the 2011-12 pilot program, Pemberton Township shared its approach to this process. In addition to training a group of teachers to provide turnkey training, Pemberton formed an auxiliary committee of teachers, supervisors, and principals to manage the messaging and ensure consistent training and communications among the turnkey trainers. This resulted in greater understanding of the teacher practice rubrics and greater clarity about procedures, and helped to ensure consistency in turnkey presentations during roll-out. Pemberton's approach to empowering and supporting teacher leaders as turnkey trainers and assembling an auxiliary committee represents a practice that other districts may want to adopt. Turnkey trainers also should be included in comprehensive evaluator training and supported in training other members of the faculty.
Q. How does the Department define proof of mastery?
A. Proof of mastery/certification refers to a set of requirements or assessments used upon completing training to determine whether a trainee observer has achieved mastery of the content of the training as well as accuracy and consistency in using the rubric as applied to practice. This designation would be conferred on candidates who have successfully completed training and achieved a high level of accuracy as defined for that instrument and rubric.
Q: How will external observations be used in the 2012-13 pilot?
A: For all non-tenured teachers, a minimum of two observations must be conducted by an external observer. For all tenured teachers, a minimum of one observation must be conducted by an external observer. These observations will ensure teachers are receiving an assessment and related feedback from more than one source, and this data will be included in the teacher's summative rating.
An external observer must be appropriately trained as an observer and not now working in the school of the teacher he/she is observing. An external observer must be trained and either certified or have demonstrated proof of mastery in the teacher practice evaluation instrument adopted by the district, and held to all scoring quality monitoring standards.
Q. What can be used at the high school level to measure annual student achievement?
A. Pilot districts are required to develop assessments for the non-tested grades and subjects. The Department is developing guidance on appropriate measures during SY2012-13.
Q: How does this teacher evaluation system impact non-teaching staff (media specialists, guidance, CST, etc.)?
A: The pilot teacher evaluation system is only for instructional staff.
Q: How will the results of the pilot evaluation system be used?
A: The pilot program, underway since September of 2011, has helped to inform new statewide procedures for evaluation as well as various elements of the new tenure law The pilot has offered the state and districts an excellent opportunity to collaborate on a rigorous, trustworthy, transparent system before full implementation in 2013-14.
Q. What type of on-site implementation support does the Department provide to pilot districts?
A. Department implementation managers work with pilot districts on site. Pilot district advisory committee members are also represented on the statewide Evaluation Pilot Advisory Committee (EPAC) to hear from national experts, share lessons learned, and problem-solve.
Q: Must pilot districts purchase a web-based performance management tool to record teacher evaluations?
A: Given the large number of evaluations required, and the need to accurately capture the information on the multiple measures of teacher effectiveness that will make up the summative rating, it is critical that a web-based performance management tool be used. While several of the teacher practice instruments have proprietary web-based tools, it is not necessary to purchase one as long as the district is using a web-based tool that is able to collect, analyze, and report data according to Department specifications.
Q: How will the 2012-13 pilot be evaluated?
A: The Department will contract with an external research organization to conduct an independent evaluation of the teacher evaluation pilot program in 2012-13. The evaluation, along with input from pilot districts and Department analysis, will be used to identify successes and challenges in implementing a new educator evaluation system and will inform statewide rollout in the 2013-14 school year.
Q: How can districts not participating in the pilot get access to resources/information about program developments?
A: This evaluation website provides information about the evaluation system, including detailed specifications for the teacher practice evaluation instrument, as well as other measures to be used in evaluations. New information will be posted on a regular basis as new measures are reviewed and approved. Guidance documents and resources are also available.
Q: What are the goals of the new principal evaluation system?
A: The goal of the new principal evaluation system is to provide district administrators with improved tools by which to measure principal effectiveness, differentiate between those who are excelling and those who need support, and provide meaningful feedback on in order to improve professional practice. The system will also help to improve principals' effectiveness by clarifying the expectations for performance, providing a common vocabulary and understanding of what principals need to know and be able to do, defining metrics that will be used to assess effectiveness, and providing meaningful feedback to inform a development plan for individual growth. In addition, a more comprehensive principal evaluation system will support districts in creating school- and system-wide collaborative cultures focused on continuous improvement through the use of multiple sources of student, teacher, and principal data to improve educators' practice and student learning. A high-quality principal evaluation system will enable districts to improve their personnel decisions concerning school leadership and will provide important data for districts and the state to use in assessing progress, setting goals and priorities, and making decisions about the professional development needs of school leaders. Finally, the ultimate goal of teacher and principal evaluation reform is to increase achievement for all students by ensuring that every New Jersey student has access to a highly effective teacher.
Q: How does this pilot interact with the teacher evaluation pilot?
A: The principal evaluation pilot program is the next step in the effort to improve educator evaluation state-wide, following the recommendations of the 2011 Educator Effectiveness Task Force. This pilot builds on the work that has begun with the teacher evaluation pilot underway since September 2011. As part of the principal evaluation pilot, 10% of the principal's professional practice evaluation score will be based on the principal's effectiveness in human capital management responsibilities, such as fulfilling the requirements of district policies for the supervision and evaluation of teachers; observing and rating teachers consistently and accurately; and conducting pre- and post-observation conferences and providing feedback that will support teachers in improving their practice. This component will be linked directly with participating districts' teacher evaluation practices.
Q: How will the Department incorporate stakeholder feedback from the pilot?
A: Initially, principal evaluation pilot districts were asked to form a District Evaluation Advisory Committee (DEAC) to oversee implementation of their proposed principal evaluation system. As they build capacity for an improved teacher evaluation system according to state guidelines, they will add stakeholders to this committee so that it will oversee and align the district's work on both systems. The state-level Evaluation Pilot Advisory Committee (EPAC), which was formed to guide the teacher evaluation pilot, has expanded to collaborate on principal evaluation activities.
Q: What are the program requirements for districts/consortia of districts participating in the principal evaluation pilot?
A: Participating LEAs/consortia will be given the flexibility to develop some elements of their own but will need to follow the following specific implementation requirements:
- Implementation of a high-quality, research-based or evidence-supported instrument for evaluating principal practice during the 2012-2013 school year;
- Incorporation of specific evaluation system policies and procedures;
- Alignment of principal and teacher evaluation systems;
- Provision of ongoing support for evaluators and principals;
- Implementation of a data management system to store and analyze evaluation data;
- Formation of a district evaluation advisory committee;
- Creation and implementation of a pilot program communications plan;
- Collaboration with the external researcher;
- Collaboration with the Department;
- Development, testing, and/or adaptation of evaluation components, measures, processes and sources of evidence; and
- Creation of a process for linking evaluation results to individual, school and district professional development planning.
Q. What are the required components of the principal evaluation system?
A: The system is comprised of two main components: (1) assessment of the quality of professional practice and (2) assessment of student performance.
- Fifty percent of a principal's evaluation must be based on measures of professional practice.
- Districts/consortia must adopt a research- or evidence-based evaluation instrument and rubrics.
- 40% of a principal's final summative evaluation rating will be derived from the evaluation of principals' performance.
- 10% of the principal's professional practice evaluation score will be based on the principal's effectiveness in human capital management responsibilities, such as recruiting and retaining effective teachers and exiting ineffective ones.
- Fifty percent of a principal's evaluation must be based on direct measures of student achievement as demonstrated by assessments and other evaluations of student work.
- 35% of the total evaluation score must be derived from aggregated measures of student achievement.
- Every principal must also be measured on school-specific goals related to student performance. This measure or combination of measures should comprise 15% of the total evaluation of a principal's performance and be focused on the change in achievement of a subset of students.
Q: What training is required on the principal practice evaluation instrument?
A: The pilot required rigorous and comprehensive training on the professional practice evaluation instrument and its application be provided prior to October 31, 2012. Training on the instrument is required for the following: all district- and school-level administrators, including, but not limited to, superintendents, assistant superintendents, directors, mentors, and other administrative staff responsible for evaluating or supporting principals; and all principals, vice/assistant principals, and supervisors. School board members are strongly encouraged to participate in training as well.
As a result of training, all participants should understand the principal practice evaluation instrument's domains/components of effective practice, specific performance indicators, rubrics, and sources of evidence. Administrators who will evaluate principals must demonstrate that they can apply the principal performance evaluation instrument accurately and consistently. Training providers must issue certificates or statements of assurances that the evaluators have completed training on the instrument and its application.
After completion of the initial training on the evaluation practice instrument, each pilot LEA is expected to create time for follow-up training for those administrators who are evaluating principals and any other central office staff involved in implementing the evaluations. The purpose of this training is to provide the administrators with an opportunity to discuss implementation issues and concerns once they have begun applying the practice instrument in their districts and to receive additional support, as necessary.
In addition, participating LEAs/consortia must design a process on their own or in collaboration with their instrument provider to check the accuracy and consistency of those evaluating principals at least once per semester during the pilot year.
Q: Which district personnel should be included in training?
A: All superintendents, assistant superintendents, other central office administrators, principals, vice/assistant principals, supervisors, and mentors under active employment in each participating LEA should be included in training. In addition, training should include:
- District personnel who are involved in decisions related to the principal evaluation system
- Staff who could evaluate vice principals and supervisors, even though vice principals and supervisors will not be included in the pilot program in 2012-13
- Any mentors (e.g., Leader to Leader program mentors) who work with principals
- All member of the District Evaluation Advisory Committee, which will include at least one school board member
Q: Are vice/assistant principals included in the pilot program?
A: Vice/assistant principals will not be evaluated during the 2012-13 pilot year, but they must participate in training.
Q: Will principals holding a provisional license and being mentored be evaluated in the pilot?
A: Principals holding a provisional license will not be evaluated in the pilot, but they should be included in training.
Q: What will evaluators be looking for in principal practice related to the Human Capital Management responsibilities?
A: Those evaluating principals will be expected to seek evidence of the principal's effectiveness in:
- Fulfilling the requirements of district policies for the supervision and evaluation of teachers;
- Observing and rating teachers consistently and accurately;
- Conducting pre- and post- observation conferences and providing teachers with feedback that will support them in improving their practice;
- Recruiting and/or retaining teaching staff;
- Developing and monitoring teachers' required individual professional development plans;
- Managing the implementation of the required school level professional development plan;
- Providing opportunities for collaborative work time; and
- Providing high quality professional development opportunities for staff.
Q: How will the pilot be evaluated?
A: The Department plans to contract with an external research organization to conduct an independent evaluation of the principal evaluation pilot program in 2012-13. The evaluation, along with input from pilot districts and Department analysis, will be used to identify successes and challenges in implementing a new educator evaluation system and will inform statewide rollout in the future.