With no state tests other than for language arts and math, can SGOs offer a window into teacher performance?

By John Mooney

Evaluating New Jersey public school teachers using student test scores has gotten most of the political — and parental — attention. But where does that leave the majority of educators, who don’t teach subjects evaluated by state exams, like language arts and math?

The state is scrambling to develop another mechanism to evaluate these teachers, called “student growth objectives” (SGOs). And officials hope to have them in place by next November 15, for all teachers, whether their specialty is phys ed, fine art, or physics.

Districts and teachers themselves have more than a little input in creating SGOs. One district, for example, might require teachers to demonstrate that three-quarters of their students show gains in a certain area. A teacher-developed SGO, meanwhile, may be unique to a specific subject and class.

Starting next year, all teachers will have at least one SGO — if they are also measured by the results of state tests — and a maximum of two. And the stakes aren’t small, with the SGO counting for up to 15 percent of an evaluation in the coming year.

But SGOs are proving as hard to develop as their more controversial counterparts based on student test scores, according to a handful of teachers led by the state teachers union who testified at the State Board of Education this week. Others said SGOs are just adding to the plethora of tests being given to students.


Similar Posts