by AJ Gold and Jake Katz
The New Jersey Department of Education recently instituted a revamped teacher evaluation system for the 2013-2014 school year for all public schools in the state. These evaluations affect teachers’ responsibilities inside and outside the classroom.
According to state.nj.us, “Effective educators are the most important in-school factor for student success, but we currently lack a robust statewide evaluation system that adequately measures effectiveness.”
The DOE approved several different models, and a team of Westfield administrators selected the Marshall Model specifically.
According to nysed.gov, the model will evaluate teachers in six main domains.
Principal Mr. Peter Renwick said: “As we were evaluating different models that the state had approved, we looked at the Marshall Model very closely.... There was a lot we liked about it.”
Math Teacher Mr. George Kapner said, “Any time you go into something completely different... people are going to have trepidation.”
The new evaluation system created more specific guidelines than there were previously, such as requiring administrators to visit classrooms more often and to use a detailed, multi-domain rubric, according to westfield-k12staffevalresources.com.
According to northjersey.com, both Governor Chris Christie and President Barack Obama have promoted evaluation reform.
Westfield District Human Resources Specialist Barbara Ball said: “The [new] model endorses frequent, short observations of teachers. Each teacher will be observed a minimum of six times.”
Said Biology Teacher Dr. Dana Philipps: “I am worried for the administrators.... There are a lot of teachers and many more observations required.”
She added, “As with any education reform, the intention is coming from a good place, but I don’t think the [DOE] always thinks through the logistics before asking districts to implement the new system.”
According to state.nj.us, the new system will benefit the teachers in identifying where they could improve and assisting them in the weaker areas. Teachers will reflect on personal goals through self-evaluations.
According to njea.org, one of the major components of this system is the student growth percentiles. SGPs will be calculated from the students’ assessment scores from baseline and post-assessments and will count toward teachers’ final evaluations.
Baseline assessments will be given in the beginning of the year, and post-assessments will occur after instruction.
The assessments provide before-and-after markers of students’ mastery of the teacher-set goals.
Said Senior Carly Friedman, “I’m really interested to see how much I have progressed once I take the test again in April.”