N.J. Schools Step Up Teacher Evaluations

Lauren Williams's picture
Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Now that it really counts, school districts across New Jersey have to figure out how they are going to evaluate their teachers — and fast.

It’s a complicated question. And under a state law signed last month to make tenure harder to get and easier to lose for educators, districts need to find answers by the 2013-14 school year. The most vexing issue is expected to be determining exactly how standardized test results should fit into the picture.

District officials and teachers unions alike wonder whether that gives most schools enough time to make such big changes.

Matthew Jennings, the schools superintendent in Hunterdon County’s relatively high-performing Alexandria Township district, says it had a big head start because it started developing its own tests three years ago. The assessments are given three times a year to every student in every subject area in the kindergarten-eighth grade district and can become key in measuring how much students are learning — a big part of teachers’ grades under the new tenure law.

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