NJ Spotlight interviews Paul Palek of the NJ DOE, who addresses teachers’ fear and anxiety about the [rushed] implementation of the new evaluation system, particularly the use of student growth data:
For instance, [Palek] said the political focus on solely test scores for the minority of teachers affected was being overplayed, saying it was much more about how students progress in both the state’s tests and other performance measures.
He said the use of “student growth objectives” that look at more holistic measures are among the changes that should be embraced by teachers.
“They are the little treasure in this process,” he said. “You are the ones in control of this.”
And considerable time was spent on the classroom observation piece that will represent 55 percent of teacher’s grades, how and when they will be conducted, how many observers will be required, how the observers will be trained. Each district chose different instruments as the templates for the process, but Palek said it will still be about how the students perform.
“But no matter what instrument you choose, if you are going to be ‘highly effective,’ it will be about how your students react in a specific class,” Palek said.