New Jersey Department of Education

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SGO Training Videos

Video Three: "Starting Points and Goal Setting"

Slide 1:

This video series is intended to help teachers develop Student Growth Objectives (SGOs) with the support of their administrators and includes all of the latest guidance, resources, and tools.

Slide 2:

As with all of the videos in this series we will be using the Department’s SGO Quality Rating Rubric as a guiding framework. This two page rubric is a teaching tool that may be used by teachers and administrators in working towards producing high quality SGOs.

Slide 3:

Remember, districts have a good deal of flexibility in developing SGOs that best suit their needs.  However, there are certain requirements that must be met as well as best practices that educators should consider that add value to the SGO process.

Slide 4:

Throughout this series of four videos, we will address three guiding principles of SGO development.

High quality SGOs should be:

Aligned to standards;

Grounded in data; and

Driven by high expectations for students.

In video three we will highlight how quality SGOs are to be grounded in data and driven by high expectations for students. We will do this by discussing the importance of using multiple measures of baseline data in determining student starting points and setting ambitious, but achievable goals for our students.

Slide 5:

Video Three: Determining Starting Points and Goal Setting

Slide 6:

To have the greatest impact on student achievement, SGOs must be grounded in data and be driven by high expectations. This process begins with proper goal setting.

Steps 2 and 3 of the SGO process are "Determining Starting Points" and "Setting Ambitious but Achievable SGOs." Teachers need to understand how to properly do this, while administrators must ensure SGOs are accurate reflections of teacher effectiveness.

Slide 7:

The SGO Quality Rating Rubric identifies four qualities in what is necessary when determining student starting points and developing scoring plans for SGOs.

Slide 8:

First, multiple, high quality data must be used to determine student starting points.

In virtually all circumstances one source of information will not be  sufficient to understand what students know and can do already and how well prepared they are for the information and skills they will be expected to learn in the class.

Multiple sources of information such as historical data (such as last year's grades), reading levels, a diagnostic assessment measuring prerequisite skills needed to succeed in the course, current class grades and other general indicators of student performance can be used to get a well-rounded picture of where students are in the first few weeks of the school year and what goals are appropriate for them.

Slide 9:

Second, teachers must differentiate student learning targets to be ambitious and achievable for all students who are included in their SGOs.

If SGOs are approached properly, the information gathered to determine students' starting points will be used to ensure growth targets described in the SGO scoring plan are appropriate for all the students in the class.  This can be achieved by tiering the growth targets.

For example, teacher "A" may have a group of students who are particularly advanced, teacher "B" may have a class that has more students who are academically challenged  and teacher "C" may have students who fall somewhere in the middle of the ability spectrum.  So even though teacher teams in the same grade or subject level may be teaching the same standards and using common assessments, growth targets and scoring plans may look different between classes.

Slide 10:

To ensure that targets are set at the right level, teachers should take advantage of any historical data available to them, including assessment scores they have collected during the SGO process over the past few years.  These longitudinal data provide information about the growth typically seen in the teacher's class and can be used to ensure targets are set for the current year that at least match prior year performance and where indicated, to increase expectations.

Slide 11:

Administrators play an important role in ensuring the integrity of the SGO process as a measure of a teacher's effectiveness.  Administrators must review and approve assessments and ensure the SGO scoring plans of their teachers meet the "ambitious but achievable" criteria.

As shown on the Departments scoring rubric for SGOs, a score of a 4 on an SGO denotes that the teacher has demonstrated an exceptional impact on student learning by exceeding the objectives set.  While it can be expected that excellent teachers might consistently help their student exceed what can reasonably be expected of a given class, it is important that administrators guide teachers to set student goals where meeting the goal is the norm, as denoted by "full attainment of the goal."  This means that goals should not be set that are either too easy or too hard to attain and that in all cases, educators have high expectations for students regardless of the students' starting points.

Slide 12:

Administrators should review longitudinal data, information about student starting points and the quality of the assessments to determine whether the teacher's goals and proposed scoring plan are appropriate.  Administrators should have a conversation with teachers if they feel targets are set too high or too low.
For example, a teacher may have set their targets lower this year because the baseline data they have collected shows certain students or the class as a whole is lagging compared to previous classes. This is acceptable if the baseline data shows this to be true, and if the previous years' scoring plans have been set with an appropriate level of rigor in achieving "full attainment" of the SGO.

Slide 13:

But this might not also be the case. An administrator may notice the same exact target set by a teacher every year, no matter what the baseline data says. They may also note that this target in the past has proven to be an exceedingly low one. This would be a good time to ask the teacher to reconsider their scoring plan by reviewing baseline data and setting new, more rigorous targets.

Slide 14:

For more information on determining starting points and develop ambitious but achievable goals, please visit the Office of Evaluation’s SGO page and consult our SGO Guidebook, SGO Exemplars and SGO Excel Scoring and Tracking Tool.

Slide 15:

Now let's visit with a Middle School Supervisor who will be conducting two separate SGO approval meetings.  In each meeting please watch how he addresses utilizing baseline data in setting more appropriate scoring plans for the SGOs.