2020-2021 Student Growth Data and Educator Evaluation Guidance
The following guidance is an addendum to earlier Educator Evaluation Guidance for the 2020-2021 school year. On January 11, 2021, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 214 which waived the use of student achievement data as a measure in determining the effectiveness of all New Jersey educators for the 2020-21 school year. Chapter 10 regulations define both the Student Growth Objective (SGO) and administrator goal processes as the measures to be used in fulfilling the student achievement component required in the TeachNJ Act. The following holds true for these processes as a result of the Executive Order:
- SGOs: Will not count towards any educator’s summative score for the 2020-2021 school year.
- Administrator Goals: Student achievement data culled from these goals will not be used to determine the effectiveness of Principals, Assistant Principals (AP) or Vice Principals (VP). These goals must measure processes. See below for more information.
- Educators, including teachers’, Principals/APs/VPs’ evaluation component weights will be as follows:
|Educator Type||Evaluation Component Weights|
Teacher Practice: 100% (as measured by traditional observations and/or portfolio process)
Regulations stipulate that a second function of processes related to the development and use of SGOs is that they “shall be used to determine impact on student learning.” N.J.A.C. 6A:10-4.2(a) and N.J.A.C. 6A:10-5.2(a). The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) recognizes and honors the efforts educators have put forth this school year in preparing and implementing SGOs and administrator goals. Therefore, all other regulatory requirements for the development and completion of SGOs and administrator goals shall remain in effect and be used to inform instructional decisions and educator practice.
While the components comprising an educator’s summative rating will be different for this school year, data culled from the development and completion of SGO and administrator goals is valuable in informing instructional decisions and determining the impact of educator practice on student learning. This underscores the importance of completion of both SGOs and administrator goals.
Below are modified requirements, local flexibilities, select resources, and key recommendations of ways data can assist in informing instructional decisions and the overall impact of educator practice on student learning.
Student Growth Objectives
- SGOs are still required to be completed. However, they will not count towards the summative score of any teacher in New Jersey.
- Guidance released earlier this year stressed the following regarding SGOs, “SGOs are still required, but thoughtful consideration is strongly recommended in their development.” This statement and the accompanying guidance still hold true.
- The February 15 deadline for adjusting SGOs established in regulations remains in place. Potential reasons for adjustments include, but are not limited to:
- Changes in student population;
- Benchmark data displaying subsets of students progressing ahead or behind the pre-determined expectations used in developing growth targets;
- Unexpected changes that may influence the predicted outcomes of the students.
- Consider reviewing data culled from assessments associated with SGOs between co-teachers, within teacher teams and administrators, both vertically and horizontally;
- Discuss final SGO results with administration during the summative conference, including sharing conclusions and implications for teaching and learning from the SGO assessment data;
- Consider results from these assessments with various educational teams in planning for the next school year. Consider how results might impact instructional decisions for the fall;
- Identify trends among grade levels and/or subject areas where SGO assessment data displayed the greatest gaps. Consider any curricular changes moving forward which may help in addressing these gaps;
- Select a sample of SGOs and use the SGO Quality Rating Rubric in determining one or two areas that the district (or individual schools within the district) should focus on to improve the SGO process for next year; and
- Store all SGO completed documentation as per normal district procedures.
- Regulations specify that administrators must have between 1 and 4 goals.
- Administrator goals are still required to be completed and included in the summative score of all Principals, APs and VPs.
- Since student achievement has been waived from being included in the summative score of any educator, administrator goals which measure student achievement must be modified.
- At least one of those goals must be counted towards the Principal’s, AP’s or VP’s summative score. See local flexibilities and key recommendations below for more information.
- Unlike SGOs, there is no February 15 adjustment deadline for administrators to modify goals. Districts have local flexibility to adjust goals as evidence warrants’
- If a Principal, AP or VP currently only has goals constructed which measure student achievement, they must develop a “process goal.” This can be accomplished in one of two ways:
- Create a new goal within twenty-five working days of your district’s announcement of their amendments to local policies and/or procedures based on the removal of SGOs from summative evaluations.; and
- Modify an existing goal to measure a process.
- One of the principal’s greatest influences on their building is in laying the foundation for student achievement through the establishment of processes. This can be measured through process goals; Districts may want to consider adjusting a previous student achievement goal to measure a process if the current goal is written in such a way that this can be accomplished; and
- More information on process goals can be found in the New Jersey Principal Evaluation for Professional Learning (NJPEPL) Process Module 2.
- The NJDOE’s NJPEPL Process guidance states that goals should be informed by data and aligned to priorities. Districts should continue to adhere to this guidance; and
- In addition, while not required, the NJPEPL Process recommends districts prioritize domains in their evaluation tool to align to what is being measured in goals. This recommendation remains in place.
- Leverage School Improvement Panels (ScIPs) in monitoring the progress of the processes being measured in administrator goals, as well as in school and district level goals;
- Consider the use of multi-year goals in principal practice. The current year’s goal may need to be continued into next year. This may or may not include some type of modification such as the target or measures used in determining success;
- If a student achievement goal is adjusted to now measure a process, consider revisiting the same student achievement goal in the future;
- Utilize data mined from this year’s goal in targeting either personal or staff-related professional development in the future; and
- Triangulate data between prioritized domains, this year’s goal(s), and any other relevant data sources to assist in preparation for the next school year.
|NJ Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.) Citation||Requirement||Temporary Flexibility|
|Requires the chief school administrator to notify staff members of amendments to evaluation policies within 10 working days.||
Extends the window to 20 working days in an effort to provide districts time to digest the information, seek clarification, look at current local policies and procedures, make any necessary changes and communicate them to the staff.
|6A:10-4.1||States the requirements teachers must complete in order to earn a summative score and accompanying rating.||
Ensures that no student growth measures will be used to measure a teacher’s effectiveness for the 2020-2021 school year. All other rules which lay out the processes for the development of SGOs and their completion shall remain in effect.
|6A:10-5.1||States the requirements Principals, VPs and APs must complete in order to earn a summative score and accompanying rating.||
Summative scores will be completed through the use of the principal practice score, as well as administrator goal(s) which must not use student achievement to measure effectiveness.
|6A:10-5.2||Determines the rules for the development of administrator goals.||
Waives the student growth requirement of the administrator goal construction process. It is also modified to allow 25 working days, time for those Principals, VPs and APs who may need to develop new goals based on these rule modifications.
Fall 2020 Educator Evaluation Guidance
For educators and students alike, the 2020-2021 school year will be unlike any other and therefore, meaningful educator evaluations will be more important than ever before. As always, effective evaluation systems are designed to support teachers and school leaders in improving their practices and building upon their strengths. As districts review their evaluation systems, teachers and school leaders must engage in reflective conversations and work together to implement procedures that will continue to improve teaching and learning.
The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) has provided five key themes that districts should consider in the creation of effective educator evaluation systems. Each theme includes minimum regulatory requirements and additional recommendations to assist districts in utilizing evaluation systems through School Year (SY) 2020-21 and beyond. The NJDOE would like to thank the teachers, principals, district-level staff, and superintendents across the state who contributed to the following guidance.
All staff must receive the number of observations required by regulations (N.J.A.C. 6A:10:4.1 and 5.1):
- Tenured teachers, Principals, Assistant Principals and Vice Principals must receive at least two observations.
- Nontenured teachers, Principals, Assistant Principals and Vice Principals must receive three observations.
Observations are defined as “a method of collecting data on the performance of a teaching staff member's assigned duties and responsibilities.” (N.J.A.C. 6A:10-1.2)
A. Traditional in-class observations:
Traditional in-class observations remain the required method for evaluating in-class, in-person instruction. This includes hybrid models in which teachers are teaching in-class, in-person with students.
B. The Portfolio Process:
If instruction is not occurring in-class or in-person, the portfolio process may be utilized for teachers. The collection of evidence should follow the protocols established last spring. See appendix for portfolio process guidance.
The NJDOE received positive feedback from across the state from both teachers and supervisors regarding their experience with portfolio observations during the spring of 2020. The NJDOE will continue to highlight best portfolio practices and will provide additional guidance as necessary.
Districts should make every effort to ensure that at least one observation is an in-class observation of in-person instruction within the 2020-21 school year. Districts are also strongly encouraged to take advantage of the local flexibility in the use of their observation instruments (i.e., type of scoring instruments, which indicators and domains will be observed, the amount of evidence required to be submitted, etc.) Districts can and should make adjustments to leverage the benefits of professional learning facets of the evaluation system, while removing inefficient procedures through the following measures:
- Focus your collective energy on simplifying and improving observations:
- Utilize District Evaluation Advisory Committee (DEACs) and School Improvement Panel (ScIPs) (see Theme Four) to identify these flexibilities, particularly in identifying the “power components” which lie in each observation instrument. Power components are those proven to be the most impactful on student achievement and should be the focus of observations.
- Examine observation procedures to ensure a transparent, efficient process:
- Develop observation schedules with the upcoming year’s uncertainty in mind.
- Stress to staff the importance of providing evidence of the observed domains in the evaluation process. This can and should be added to your district’s yearly training.
- Ensure evaluators are comfortable with how elements classified as “planning” and “professional responsibilities” are defined locally. These areas are critical in promoting the reflective side of evaluation systems.
- Consider the requirements and best practices that may be applicable to provisional status teachers, nontenured educators, and those on Corrective Action Plans (including extra observations, extra observers, assuring more frequent feedback, and face-to-face conversations). These requirements provide support to staff members in need of additional professional learning/development.
- Streamline Processes:
- Minimize paperwork or administrative burdens on staff whenever possible.
- Due to the absence of a state assessment last year, there will not be a median student growth percentile (mSGP) score included in the summative ratings of teachers, principals, vice principals, and assistant principals. (See Executive Order No. 175)
- During SY2020-21, the student achievement component of AchieveNJ will be satisfied by Student Growth Objectives (SGOs) for teachers. For principals, assistant principals, and vice principals, the student achievement component will be satisfied by administrator goals and the SGO average of teachers.
- Focus time and resources on the development of SGOs. Given disruptions to instruction as a result of COVID-19-related school closures, it may be more difficult to determine appropriate growth expectations this year and districts should use the SGO-related training materials and resources to assist in that decision-making process. Districts should utilize the February 15, 2021 deadline in any adjustments which may need to be made. The AchieveNJ webpage offers a wide variety of SGO-related training materials and resources.
Highlighting the five steps of the SGO process, please see the following recommendations and accompanying resources in completing SGOs:
Step One: Choose or develop a quality standards-aligned assessment(s).
- Consider using a portfolio of assessments to determine growth. Please review the SGO exemplars for various ways to develop SGOs.
Step Two: Determine student starting points.
- Use multiple measures to obtain baseline data for students. As always, a pre-test/post-test model is highly discouraged.
- See pages 15–17 of the SGO Guidebook for more information on using multiple measures to determine student readiness.
- The two measures below, coupled with one or two additional measures, could yield excellent data to determine student readiness and provide greater clarity this year:
- A diagnostic pre-assessment based on the standards students were expected to master in the prior grade level.
- A parent survey gauging student online learning last spring.
Step Three: Set ambitious, yet achievable SGOs.
- Determine student preparedness to help set growth targets that are fair and achievable.
- A mandatory “across the board” growth target for all teachers in a particular grade or all students in the same class is not a recommended practice.
- Setting targets should be a thoughtful, realistic process. The SGO Video Training Series provides a concise explanation of this critical practice.
Step Four: Monitor and adjust accordingly.
- The February 15, 2021 SGO deadline may be relaxed for adjustments to occur in certain circumstances; it is recommended that districts utilize the adjustment period, if necessary.
- The inclusion of a mid-year conference for educators would be an opportune time to incorporate adjustments.
Step Five: Review results and score.
All training procedures as required by regulations (N.J.A.C. 6A:10) remain in effect.
Districts are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the local flexibility they have with respect to training procedures. In addition, stakeholder engagement through DEACs and ScIPs is always recommended.
- Districts should tweak annual evaluation training to highlight procedures and processes that will be impacted due to potential hybrid scheduling.
- Districts should use DEACs and ScIPs (see Theme Four below) to assist in making decisions regarding procedures.
- DEAC and ScIP committees should be leveraged in the development and delivery of staff training, as well as included in communication throughout the year.
- Districts should develop a plan for what co-observations may look like in the case of limited room capacity and movement across buildings.
School Improvement Panels (ScIP) are required to meet. (N.J.A.C. 6A:10-3.1)
Reestablish a District Evaluation Advisory Committee (DEAC):
- Utilize DEAC members to discuss and make recommendations on significant evaluation decisions.
- Empower teachers to assist in developing updated evaluation procedures which may require modifications.
Engage the School Improvement Panel (ScIP):
- Convene the ScIP as early as possible in the school year.
- Solicit ScIP feedback on any district level policy and/or procedural change(s). ScIPs are the body through which school level implementation should occur.
- Leverage the ScIP to disseminate information between administration and teachers.
- ScIP Guidance outlines the requirements for this committee and provides examples from educators to inform its activities.
All regulations concerning Professional Development Plans (N.J.A.C. 6A:9-15) and Corrective Action Plans (N.J.A.C. 6A:10-2.5) remain in place.
- Districts should ensure that educators have a clear and concrete understanding of how they might improve during the school year. See the Department’s guidance on individual professional development planning for more information.
- In developing Professional Development Plans or Corrective Action Plans, consider school or districtwide goals that support the growth of all educators and address issues related to the impact of COVID-19 school closures.
- See the NJDOE’s professional development (PD) plan guidance for individual PD and/or Corrective Action Plan (CAP) planning.
- Consider the professional learning teachers may need to support in-person, hybrid, and/or remote learning.
- District leaders should ensure that educators on a CAP are supported by their supervisors in setting clear goals and expectations to improve their practice.
- The portfolio process replaces the traditional twenty-minute single classroom observation with an equivalent method.
- This process allows educators to showcase their professional practice with a set of artifacts, stretched out over a window of time (defined as a period of two to three weeks up to two months).
- Observation Window Specifics:
- Windows in which evidence will be collected should be mutually agreed upon by the educator and his or her supervisor.
- A window cannot open until after the previous observation window has closed.
- If the portfolio observation includes a preconference, this must occur within seven working days prior to opening the observation window.
- All post conferences must occur within 15 working days of the close of the observation window.
- Portfolio Evidence Specifics:
- Educators gather artifacts of their work completed during the observation window which are aligned to the observation instrument’s domains and indicators. This is not meant to be a large portfolio.
- Both the supervisor and teacher must agree on the type of learning that will be included in the portfolio. Included should be evidence of direct observation of synchronous OR the indirect observation of asynchronous online learning:
- Synchronous remote learning: The observer watches a class being conducted online. This is a direct observation.
- Asynchronous remote learning: The observer is provided evidence from a classroom lesson using asynchronous methods (ex: prerecorded lessons, class blogs, student discussion boards, student chat spaces, etc.). This is an indirect observation.
- Other evidence should focus on critical domains with at least one piece per domain observed and no more than four to five per domain observed.
- Evidence collected must be relevant to the assigned duties and responsibilities associated with teaching in a remote setting.
- There should be enough evidence presented to facilitate a conversation regarding the educator’s growth during the specified window.
- Other Important Information:
- All conferences can be conducted via teleconferencing.
- Prior to beginning these observations, it is recommended that you consult your district’s DEAC or other stakeholder committee to discuss the New Jersey Department of Education’s (NJDOE) recommendations and the district’s procedures.
- All practice instruments score evaluations differently and districts have local flexibility in the weighting and scoring.
- Districts should consider the approach currently in place to ensure evaluation procedures will result in a fair and equitable score under the amended circumstances.