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Now It Counts: NJ Releases First Data Linking Test Scores, Teacher Ratings

‘Median Student Growth Percentiles’ based on results of statewide exams will factor into annual evaluations

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Results of the first test run of New Jersey’s new system linking evaluations of individual teachers and administrators with their students’ performance on state testing were released yesterday.

The state education department informed districts that they could now access the measurements –- called “median Student Growth Percentiles” (mSGPs) – for approximately 16,000 teachers and another 4,000 principals and assistant principals.

The SGP measures student progress on state tests in language arts and math compared to similar students statewide. The median of each of those students’ percentiles – from 1 to 99 – is then linked to the classroom teacher in that subject as part of his or her annual evaluation.

The mSGP will represent up to 30 percent of a teacher’s rating, with the rest of the evaluation determined through classroom observations and attaining classroom “objectives” not measured by the state tests.

For now, the mSGP only applies to language arts and math teachers in grades 4-8, which are the grades in which the state administers its tests. This year, that amounts to less than 20 percent of teachers statewide.

The release of the SGP information is just the start of a process that is likely to take another month or two, as state officials yesterday said there will be a vetting and validation of the scores before final reports are forthcoming.

Districts are expected to share the scores with each teacher individually, and officials noted there could be discrepancies between the data and the class rosters of students attached to each teacher.

Individual teachers’ scores will not be made public, by law, but officials said the state will issue a final report on the distribution of scores and any other pertinent averages.

“This is a six- to eight-week process,” said Assistant Education Commissioner Peter Shulman yesterday. “That is longer than we’d like, but we’d like to get it right this first year.”

In future years, Shulman added, the mSGP data could be ready as soon as the fall or even the summer after the school year.

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