Township Teachers Receive High Marks In New State Evaluation


About 96 percent of township teachers were evaluated as at least “effective” in a new state program.
Source: NJ State Department of Education.

About 96 percent of township teachers are “effective” or “highly effective,” according to the state’s new educator evaluation system.

The new system, called “AchieveNJ,” evaluated teachers and school leaders based on ” multiple measures of educator practice and student achievement,” according to a press release from the state Department of Education.

According to the figures released on July 15 for the 2013-2014 school year, 502 of the district’s 610 teachers were rated “effective,” with another 85 teachers rated “highly effective.”

Additionally, 10 teachers at Franklin Middle School were given ratings of “partially effective.”

MacAfee Road School had the most number of teachers rated as “highly effective,” with 24. Franklin HIgh School had 22 teachers fall in that rating, and Sampson G. Smith School had 20.

The 2013-2014 school year is the first in which the results were released.

Other large Somerset County school districts – those with more than 400 students – fared similarly to Franklin. About 99 percent of teachers in each of the Bernards, Bridgewater-Raritan Regional and Hillsborough school districts were rated at “effective” or “highly effective.”

The DOE release noted that, in an effort to keep the data of specific teachers confidential – as required by state law – the following measures were taken:

  1. Records that have n-size < 10 are suppressed, e.g., if 9 or fewer staff received a rating of Ineffective, the record will be suppressed (the record will not be part of the data file). The total will always be displayed irrespective of n-size.
  2. When one performance level is suppressed due to n-size, and all 4 performance level ratings are present, the next lowest staff count will be suppressed (record will not be part of the file), to disallow roll-up to find the rating count for the first level suppressed and thus potentially identify educators.
  3. Records with 100% staff in one performance level are suppressed, as per state law (since in this case, any viewer would know each educator’s evaluation rating). In such cases, only the total staff count record will be provided as part of the data file.

Those instances where information has been suppressed are noted with an asterisk. Under these guidelines, it is impossible in Franklin’s case to fully determine how many township teachers received the lower ratings, or in what schools they are teaching.

Schools Superintendent John Ravally said that while it’s too soon to see any trends in the data, that will soon change.

“As we continue to collect data, we’ll start to see certain patters emerge that we can address,” he said.

Ravally said that as time goes on, the evaluators will also refine their techniques, which will lead to more accurate results.

“The more refined the evaluator, the more accurate the results,” he said.

Under the new system, teachers and school leaders are “receiving individualized feedback that recognizes excellence and helps districts tailor support for those who need it most,” according to the release. “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.”

The release noted that most of New Jersey teachers received ratings of at least “effective,” while 2,900 were identified as “partially effective” or “ineffective.”

Those teachers will “receive extra support and to demonstrate progress over time to earn or maintain tenure,” according to the release.

“The real story of the first year of AchieveNJ is that educators have risen to the challenge of improving feedback for all teachers and leaders,” Peter Shulman, Assistant Commissioner of Education and Chief Talent Officer, said in the release. “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.”

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