Saturday, July 25, 2015

Christie Administration Announces Results from First Year of New Educator Evaluations

First Baptist Church- Hoboken, NJ
Trenton, NJ – The Department of Education today announced a report detailing the results from the first year of implementation of AchieveNJ, the state's new educator evaluation and support system. Starting in 2013-14, teachers and school leaders across the state were evaluated based on multiple measures of educator practice and student achievement, which provided more detailed and personalized feedback than ever before.

The report identified some important outcomes, including:

In past years, educators typically received a binary evaluation rating of "acceptable" or "not acceptable," often based on a perfunctory annual classroom visit by a supervisor. Now, teachers and leaders are receiving individualized feedback that recognizes excellence and helps districts tailor support for those who need it most. The state law that established new evaluations requires multiple measures including observations, student growth goals set by educators and supervisors, and, for some, student growth on state assessments.
As expected, the majority of New Jersey educators earned the top two of four possible ratings, Effective or Highly Effective, but districts now know much more about the outcomes of their work with students. In addition, approximately 2,900 teachers were identified as Ineffective or Partially Effective – and these teachers provided instruction to more than 180,000 New Jersey children last year. The law that created AchieveNJ requires those teachers to receive extra support and to demonstrate progress over time to earn or maintain tenure.
The report also provides evidence that teachers evaluated partially on student growth on the state standardized test (about 15% of all New Jersey teachers) were not at a relative disadvantage by the inclusion of this measure. Like teachers not receiving those scores, the vast majority of those earning "Student Growth Percentile" scores, which show the progress a student makes from one year to the next in comparison to academic peers across the state, were rated either Effective or Highly Effective. Moving forward, districts can examine growth data for trends along with other evaluation measures to improve decisions about individual, school, and district goals.

"The real story of the first year of AchieveNJ," said Peter Shulman, Assistant Commissioner of Education and Chief Talent Officer, "is that educators have risen to the challenge of improving feedback for all teachers and leaders. While one year of this new data is insufficient for identifying sustained trends or making sweeping conclusions about the state's teaching staff, we are proud of this significant improvement and the personalized support all educators are now receiving."

"I commend New Jersey educators for the hard work they've done to improve performance evaluations across the state," remarked Governor Christie. "As I've always said, we should be pleased with the excellent education so many of our children receive, but we must also recognize the areas where we need to do better. These early results reinforce our long-held beliefs and, more importantly, provide district leaders with concrete data to make more informed decisions about their staffs."

Education Commissioner David C. Hespe applauded local district leaders who helped successfully implement the new evaluations. "AchieveNJ was very purposefully designed by educators to ensure that those impacted by these policies and activities are the ones leading that work in each district," he explained. "The lessons and data points embedded in this report are meant to assist our districts and schools as they look to learn from and build upon their initial year of implementation."

The full report is available online. To learn more about AchieveNJ, visit