NEW JERSEY ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS
For Immediate Release
Task force is initiating pilot programs with up to 9 districts
TRENTON, N.J. — July 11, 2011 — The New Jersey Educator Effectiveness Task Force charged with recommending a new statewide teacher evaluation system will start with pilot programs in schools to determine the most effective combination of testing methods, according to the New Jersey Association of School Administrators (NJASA).
“We’re moving in the right direction,” said Dr. Richard Bozza, executive director of the NJASA. “By seeing how the assessments work in the classroom, and by creating the opportunity for stakeholders to participate in the discussion, we will allow for the creation of the most authentic, effective system for teacher assessment.”
Established by executive order of the governor, the Task Force was directed to establish a system that measured teachers equally on classroom performance and student achievement. The system not only would measure teacher effectiveness, it would influence decisions about school personnel policies, professional development, promotion, compensation, merit-based bonuses, tenure and reductions in force.
Up to nine pilot districts will test the new evaluations during the 2011-12 school year with guidance and funding from the state. The New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) has invited districts to apply to be part of the process.
The new assessment system is anticipated to be the centerpiece of the state’s broader agenda for teacher tenure and pay reforms, according to the NJASA.
“It’s not simply an assessment issue,” noted Dr. Bozza. “These assessments are going to have powerful ramifications. They’ll determine whether a teacher gets tenure or how much he or she is paid. Therefore, we hope the Task Force is careful to consider all of the issues that affect student achievement to get a true measure of teacher effectiveness.”
For example, if one classroom has a number of special education students or limited English speaking students, should we rate the teachers the same on their students’ test scores? What if there is a team teaching approach? How do you credit each teacher for the performance of students? Does the influence of the second grade teacher affect the outcomes of the students taught by next year’s third grade teacher?
“Clearly, there are many issues to address to get the system as effective and credible as possible,” he noted. “New Jersey should continue its work, but also learn from the work of the state winners of the ‘Race to the Top’ grants where research on measurement of the impact of teacher performance on student outcomes benefits from significant resources provided by the federal Department of Education.”
The New Jersey Association of School Administrators is an organization of chief education officers and school administrators who lead school districts in New Jersey’s 21 counties. The association’s mission is to ensure a superior statewide system of education. Through ongoing professional training and education, the association shares knowledge among its members about best practices from both educational and administrative perspectives. Its goal is to move education forward by ensuring the highest quality of instruction for all New Jersey children.
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