NEW JERSEY ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS
Press Release: For Immediate Release
Dr. Richard Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, is available to discuss the issues involved in a teacher assessment system based on student achievement.
New Jersey Educator Effectiveness Task Force recommendations are justthe beginning of a national debate on how to measure teacher success, says NJASA
TRENTON, N.J. — March 25, 2011 — As the debate on measuring teacher effectiveness continues throughout the nation, initial recommendations from the New Jersey Educator Effectiveness Task Force are putting the state on a road that will be paved with pitfalls unless caution is exercised, according to the New Jersey Association of School Administrators.
Established by executive order of the governor, the Task Force was charged with recommending a statewide teacher evaluation system. The system not only would measure teacher effectiveness, it would influence decisions about school personnel policies, professional development, promotion, compensation, merit-based bonuses, tenure and reductions in force. The executive order also stipulated that recommendations include student achievement measures that “would comprise 50 percent or more of an educator’s evaluation.”
The Task Force announced its initial recommendations on March 1, 2011. They proposed a combination of test scores, personal observation and school-wide performance to evaluate teacher effectiveness.
“The Task Force recommendations are an important beginning to a continuing discussion on student achievement,” said Richard Bozza, Ed.D., executive director of the NJASA. “In our drive for quality education for New Jersey students, teacher effectiveness is paramount. But we need to make sure we are measuring it appropriately. Student test scores, for example, may not be the right vehicle to assess 21st-century learning goals, which are broader than paper-and-pencil assessments. Testing also has to take into account factors outside school, such as poverty, that affect student achievement.”
Measuring teacher effectiveness is being studied throughout the country. Bozza indicated that New Jersey could learn from the results of research in other states that revealed limitations on merit pay.
- A research study in Nashville, Tenn., concluded that bonuses up to $15,000 to mathematics teachers made no difference in the achievement of middle school students.
- National sentiment is reflected in a Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll in which 60 percent of respondents said the primary purpose for teacher evaluations should be to help them improve their teaching rather than to set their salaries or to document ineffectiveness that could lead to firing.
- The January 2011 review of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Measures of Effective Teaching” (MET) project by Jesse Rothstein of the University of California, Berkeley, notes that the use of a teacher’s estimated “value add” computed from the year-on-year test score gains of her students as a measure of teaching effectiveness indicates that the teacher’s value added for the state test is not strongly related to her effectiveness in a broader sense.
“The recommendations of the Task Force should seek to expand the opportunity for stakeholders to participate in the discussion,” noted Bozza. “This will allow for the creation of the most authentic, effective system for teacher assessment.”
The New Jersey Association of School Administrators is an organization of chief education officers and school administrators who lead school districts in New Jersey’s 21 counties. The association’s mission is to ensure a superior statewide system of education. Through ongoing professional training and education, the association shares knowledge among its members about best practices from both educational and administrative perspectives. Its goal is to move education forward by ensuring the highest quality of instruction for all New Jersey children.