DOE Announces Grant to Participate in Principal Evaluation Pilot
The NJDOE announced April 19 that $500,000 is available to districts wanting to participate in a pilot program to evaluate principals. The Notice of Grant Opportunity (NGO) for the Excellent Educators for New Jersey (EE4NJ) principal evaluation pilot program will be available to approximately 10 individual local education agencies (LEAs), including charter schools. Entities may form consortia and apply as such.
Applications are due by May 30, 2012. Entities awarded the grant will have until August 1, 2012 to choose an evaluation model that meets the state’s requirements and until October 31, 2012 to complete training of all staff involved, and the pilot must be in place by October 31.
Grants will be awarded based upon a formula that considers the total number of administrators, the size of the consortium, etc. Details about the formula is available in the grant packet.
The pilot grant funds come directly from the Race to the Top funding awarded New Jersey last year. In that application, New Jersey stated that it would implement principal evaluation programs as well as teacher evaluations.
The criteria upon which principals are to be evaluated are for the most part dictated by the state. According to the grant program information, the criteria selection was driven by recommendations of the Educator Effectiveness Task Force (EETF) report of 2011 and have the goals of differentiating between excellent and struggling principals, clarifying performance expectations, defining metrics used for assessment, and improving districts’ abilities concerning recruitment and development of school leaders.
The Evaluation Criteria
The pilot evaluation criteria must include measures of student performance and principal professional practice.
Fifty percent of the final summative evaluation rating must come from principal professional practice—forty percent from principal practice in general, and 10 percent must reflect performance in human capital management responsibilities.
40 Percent Principal Professional Practice
While the criteria for the 40% of the principal performance rating should come from the chosen evaluation instrument, those criteria must include criteria that align with 2008 ISLLC Professional Standards for School Leaders; must differentiate four levels of performance; assess progress on at least one school, individual professional, or district performance goal; must consider feedback from teachers; must incorporate an assessment of the principal’s ability to implement a rigorous curriculum aligned to the NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards; assess the principal’s impact on high-quality instruction; assess the principal’s evaluation of teachers; and consider the degree to which the principal promotes teacher professional growth.
10 Percent in Human Capital Management Responsibilities
The assessment of human capital management responsibilities will make up 10 percent of the total assessment. Recruiting and retaining effective staff and “exiting” ineffective staff was a criterion recommended by the EETF, but in recognition of the fact that principals do not often have ultimate decision-making power in these matters, said the report, the effective supervision, evaluation, and support of staff will be assessed in its place.
Evidence of success in this area will be developed with the help of the evaluation program provider, but is expected to consider the extent to which principals follow district policies concerning supervision and evaluation of teachers, observing and rating teachers consistently and accurately, providing pre and post conferences, and providing valuable feedback.
In addition, participants are encouraged to employ 360-degree performance assessments which solicit feedback from many classes of members of the school community.
35 Percent from Aggregate Measures of Student Performance
This measure, the grant package explains, “should capture how the school is improving as a whole in terms of student achievement levels.”
According to supporting materials included with the package, this determination is arrived at using student growth percentiles, the measure the state has been touting, which compares a child’s score with that child’s expected growth determined by average growth in a large but very narrowly defined group of very similar academic peers. The test in question that would serve as the benchmark is the NJASK. 10 percent of this score will come from NJASK language arts and 10 percent from the mathematics portion.
For high school students, the change in the passing rate on the HSPA from one year to the next will be the measure; however, this represents two different groups of students, comparing students in a 11th grade in the 2012-2013 school year with students in that same grade in the 2011-2012 school year.
In past conversations, concerns over using such a measure that compares two completely different groups of students have been expressed.
To that concern had been added the concern that such a large percentage of an evaluation could be derived from a measure that does not even exist at all for many (80 percent) subject areas teachers such as art, music, and phys ed. But the state has a plan.
15 Percent from SMART Goals
The remaining 15 of the 35 percent will be based on SMART goals, which will be set by the district or school at the beginning of the process and will measure performance in two additional content areas.
15 Percent from School-specific Student Performance Goals
The final 15 percent represents school-specific student performance goals, 10-15 percent based on SMART goals for one school-specific student achievement goal in a content area, and 0-5 percent based upon a school-specific student achievement or performance goal.
According to the grant package, this final 5 percent may reflect scholastic or non-scholastic aspects, including such factors as attendance. However this criterion may not be weighted more than 5 percent.
NJPSA provided a response to the NGO April 24. Executive Director, Patricia Wright, sent a letter to NJDOE's Chief Talent Officer Peter Shulman. While supportive of many of the provisions in the NJGO, Wright asked for clarification on the use of SMART goals, noted the disparity between K-3 schools, middle schools, and high schools with respect to the types of test data being used, or lack thereof, questioned the role of mentors, and noted other items to consider.
The letter is available here.
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