Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policy
The state should ensure that teachers receive feedback about their performance and should require professional development to be based on needs identified through teacher evaluations. This goal was reorganized in 2017.
Evaluation Feedback: New Jersey requires evaluation feedback in the form of post-observation conferences as well as annual summary conferences with supervisors to review the annual written performance report, which includes areas of strength and areas needing improvement.
Professional Development: New Jersey requires that all teachers have professional development plans, and all professional development activities must be aligned with findings from teacher evaluations.
Improvement Plans: New Jersey requires that teachers receiving a rating of ineffective or partially effective develop a corrective action plan with his or her supervisor, and the corrective action plan must "address areas in need of improvement identified in the educator evaluation rubric."
Evaluation Rating Categories: New Jersey requires four rating categories: highly effective, effective, partially effective and ineffective.
New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:10 Teacher evaluation and support: http://www.state.nj.us/education/AchieveNJ/intro/1PagerTeachers.pdf
As a result of New Jersey's strong linking of evaluation to professional growth policies, no recommendations are provided.
New Jersey recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
7D: Linking Evaluation to Professional Growth
Professional development should be connected to needs identified through teacher evaluations. The goal of teacher evaluation systems should be not just to identify highly effective teachers and those who underperform but to help all teachers improve. Even highly effective teachers may have areas where they can continue to grow and develop their knowledge and skills. Rigorous evaluations should provide actionable feedback on teachers' strengths and weaknesses that can form the basis of professional development activities. Too often professional development is random rather than targeted to the identified needs of individual teachers. Failure to make the connection between evaluations and professional development squanders the likelihood that professional development will be meaningful.
Many states are only explicit about tying professional development plans to evaluation results if the evaluation results are bad. Good evaluations with meaningful feedback should be useful to all teachers, and if done right should help design professional development plans for all teachers—not just those who receive poor ratings.
To further increase the utility and validity of evaluation systems, states should require that evaluation instruments differentiate among various levels of teacher performance rather than only giving binary satisfactory/unsatisfactory ratings. Binary rating systems often offer little meaning because virtually all teachers receive satisfactory ratings. More rating categories allow for more nuanced distinctions between levels of teacher performance.