NJ District Adopts New Teacher Evaluation System

Like many states across the country, New Jersey is engaged in comprehensive reform of teacher and principal evaluation systems, and changing its laws to tie these evaluations to student achievement. While the state prepares to implement a new teacher evaluation system in all districts in 2013-14, Nutley Public School District has implemented Performance Matters™, a web-based solution that provides an integrated platform for student assessment, data management and teacher effectiveness.

Nutley Public Schools, which began using Performance Matters assessment and data management system in 2011, purchased the company’s FASTe (Formative Action System for Teacher Effectiveness) platform this fall. FASTe provides a turnkey system for evaluating educator effectiveness, with a framework that can be customized for each school system. Accessible year-round, the online platform enables educators to “progress monitor” their performance against the multiple measures that make up their annual evaluations and link to relevant professional development resources. At the end of the year, FASTe produces multi-measure summative rating reports based on the school system’s criteria.

“We’ve been using Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching, which is one of the New Jersey Department of Education’s approved teaching practice evaluation instruments. We added FASTe because we wanted to provide our principals and teachers with the ability to conduct evaluations electronically and, more important, to use the evaluations for self-reflection,” said Andrew Levine, director of instructional technology and communication for Nutley Public Schools.

“FASTe enables teachers to reflect on their teaching, to easily track what they’re doing and how they’re helping students and their families, and then tie these reflections back to elements in the Danielson framework,” said Levine. “With this information, teachers can play an active role in their evaluations and create a more open dialog, rather than a one-way conversation based on a single evaluation. Teachers see FASTe as a unique tool that will enhance their individual professional growth. From the data analysis side of things, I have not seen anything like it.”