Thanks to AchieveNJ, the 2013-14 school year has been a climb like no other. You’ve worked your way through teacher practice models, DEACs, ScIPs, and student growth measures. Now it’s time for your annual summative evaluation.
This evaluation will result in a rating that is based on appraisals of educator practice and student performance, and includes all measures captured in a teaching staff member's evaluation rubric. The four rating categories are highly effective, effective, partially effective, and ineffective (Figure 1).
The purpose of this article is to identify the components of a summative evaluation and help you effectively prepare for it. Just as we tell our students to keep track of their own grades, you should be gathering all the data that is pertinent to your summative evaluation. Remember-- your final rating (see Figure 2) will be calculated using your teacher practice score, your student growth percentile (if applicable) and your student growth objective(s).
Getting ready for the summative evaluation conference
Your goal for your summative evaluation conference is simple: to maintain a conversation focused upon personal achievement, accomplishments and growth.
To meet this goal, start by completing the “Getting Organized” worksheet. Next, carefully calculate your own summative rating before the conference so you’ll know if it matches your supervisor’s calculation. Calculation worksheet
In addition, you should review the rubrics from your district’s teacher practice tool. This is especially important in areas where you were deemed partially effective or ineffective. You also want to bring evidence of successful teaching as well as proof that you met any indicators that were not observed by your evaluator.
If you know prior to your meeting that your score is less than you had hoped for, there are some general rules to follow to ensure the best possible outcome of the summative conference. For example, be sure that both you and your supervisor have sufficient time to see the conversation through to the end. Be realistic about what you can and cannot achieve during the conference, and be sure the conversation is focused on facts and why the facts are important.
The first step is to compile your observations. Your District Evaluation Advisory Committee (DEAC) is charged with defining how the teacher practice score is calculated in your district. This should have been done by Oct. 1, and you should have access to this definition.
It is important to note that districts may weight some domains above others so you should take this into consideration when calculating scores.
Prior to your summative evaluation conference, be sure to predict your teacher practice score using the method chosen by your district. If your administration has not provided you with the information necessary to determine your teacher practice rating, contact your local association.
Student Growth Percentiles (SGP) measure how much of your students’ standardized test scores change from one year to the next compared to peers with a similar history of scores on the NJASK from across the state. Only teachers in tested grades have SGP scores.
Because you don’t have access to all of the data that will produce your student growth percentile (SGP), it is impossible to calculate your own SGP. But it is important to know whether you meet the criteria for even having an SGP score and to verify your roster of students to be sure the students whose scores are being applied to your SGP are actually in your classroom and have been there the required amount of time.
According to the regulations, you can only receive a median SGP score if you have at least 20 student scores on your roster. If you do not have 20 students, you may receive an SGP score if you accrue 20 student scores over a period of up to three years.
For SGP purposes, students should be included on the teacher’s roster under the following conditions only:
- The teacher must have been the teacher of record for the class that is being taught for 60 percent of the time from the beginning of the year to the first day of state testing.
- Students must be enrolled in a class for 70 percent of the time before the first day of testing. This does not take into account attendance, only enrollment in the class.
The same student can be included on the rosters of two teachers for SGP purposes. For example, if a special education teacher is providing in-class support services, both the special education teacher and the general education teacher can be assigned the same students .The school district decides which students will be included with which teachers, so teachers and local associations should work closely with administrators to ensure such assignments are appropriate.
Special education and basic skills teachers should be certain that they have been present for 60 percent of the instruction in a particular subject before those students have been assigned to their roster for SGP purposes.
Now is the time to begin developing a process to monitor this data: school districts will submit student rosters for SGP purposes in early summer.
Local associations and teachers should work with their school districts to ensure that the data for the 2013-14 school year are correct. It is critical that teachers review the roster that is being submitted to the New Jersey Department of Education for purposes of SGP to ensure that all students being included do indeed meet the criteria for inclusion.
Once you receive your SGP score, use the median SGP chart (Figure 3) to convert it to a 1-4 rating that will contribute to your summative rating.
Based on reports from the field, NJEA fully expects student growth objective (SGO) calculation to be the most contentious area of the evaluation process.
After your SGOs were collaboratively created in the fall, you should have monitored student progress by using solid formative assessment and adjusting instruction accordingly throughout the year. When the final assessment upon which the SGO was based has been scored, it is the responsibility of the supervisor to calculate the SGO, but there is no reason this should not be a collaborative event. This can be done as part of the annual summative conference.
You should also calculate your own score prior to any meeting with a supervisor. If using a tiered SGO, score using both methods and be ready to advocate for using the score that works to your best advantage.
If you have one SGO, this score will determine 15 percent of your final summative rating. If you have two SGOs, each one is scored and the average of the two becomes your SGO score and accounts for 15 percent of the final summative evaluation.
Corrective Action Plans
If your rating lands you in the partially effective or ineffective categories (your score was lower than 2.65), the district is required to give you a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) for the following school year.
A CAP, which should be developed collaboratively between the supervisor and the teacher, must:
- Address areas in need of improvement identified by the evaluation rubric
- Include specific and demonstrable goals
- Identify responsibilities of the evaluated employee and the district
- Set reasonable timelines for meeting goals.
It is the district’s responsibility to identify and support the timeline and resources for the CAP. Examples of this support could include finding PD opportunities, allowing for release time/coverage if needed and assuming the cost for identified workshops where necessary.
Assuming that your summative score has been calculated before the end of the school year (you don’t have an SGP), then the CAP must be in place prior to Sept. 15. If you do have an SGP score and won’t receive your summative rating until the following school year, the CAP must be in place 15 working days after the rating is received.
It is recommended that any teacher being placed on a CAP contact their local leadership and UniServ rep to ensure that their rights and future employment are protected.
When can tenure charges be filed? If a teacher is rated ineffective in two consecutive years or has been rated partially effective the first year and ineffective the second, the superintendent must file a charge of inefficiency. The superintendent is also required to file if a teacher has been rated less than effective (partially effective or ineffective) for three consecutive years. It is at the superintendent’s discretion whether to file following two consecutive partially effective ratings or an ineffective followed by a partially effective rating.
It’s hard to imagine that anyone in any profession enjoys the process of being evaluated by a supervisor. And a new evaluation system adds to the anxiety you may be feeling. NJEA wants to provide you with these three parting thoughts:
- Know before you go—Be sure you understand the regulations as fully as possible. Do your homework so you can direct a positive and encouraging conversation that focuses on your strengths and accomplishments.
- Be ready to advocate for yourself—While it may seem that AchieveNJ is all about the numbers, your summative rating is not simple addition. Bring artifacts that address areas of possible weakness or those indicators that may not have been observed while the administrator was in your classroom.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask a colleague who has attended an NJEA training or reach out to your local association’s Evaluation Committee. Br proactive to help produce the best possible professional outcome.
Mike Ritzius is an NJEA associate director of Professional Development and Instructional Issues. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.