The majority of New Jersey’s public school teachers were rated “Effective” or “Highly Effective,” the top two ratings under the state’s new educator evaluation and support system, according to the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE).

The NJDOE this week announced a report detailing the results from the first year of implementation of AchieveNJ, the state’s new educator evaluation and support system.

Beginning in 2013-2014, teachers and school leaders across the state were evaluated based on multiple measures of educator practice and student achievement, which provided more detailed and personalized feedback than ever before. The report identified some important outcomes, including:

  • In past years, educators typically received a binary evaluation rating of “acceptable” or “not acceptable,” often based on a perfunctory annual classroom visit by a supervisor. Now, teachers and leaders are receiving individualized feedback that recognizes excellence and helps districts tailor support for those who need it most. The state law that established new evaluations requires multiple measures including observations, student growth goals set by educators and supervisors, and, for some, student growth on state assessments.
  • As expected, the majority of New Jersey educators earned the top two of four possible ratings, Effective or Highly Effective, but NJDOE says that districts now know much more about the outcomes of their work with students.
  • In addition, however, approximately 2,900 teachers were identified as Ineffective or Partially Effective, the lower two ratings on the scale. Together, these teachers provided instruction to more than 180,000 New Jersey children last year. The law that created AchieveNJ requires those teachers to receive extra support and to demonstrate progress over time to earn or maintain tenure.
  • The report also provides evidence that teachers evaluated partially on student growth on the state standardized test (about 15 percent of all New Jersey teachers) were not at a relative disadvantage by the inclusion of this measure. Like teachers not receiving those scores, the vast majority of those earning “Student Growth Percentile” scores, which show the progress a student makes from one year to the next in comparison to academic peers across the state, were rated either Effective or Highly Effective. Moving forward, districts can examine growth data for trends along with other evaluation measures to improve decisions about individual, school, and district goals.

“The real story of the first year of AchieveNJ is that educators have risen to the challenge of improving feedback for all teachers and leaders,” said Peter Shulman, assistant commissioner of education and chief talent officer. “While one year of this new data is insufficient for identifying sustained trends or making sweeping conclusions about the state’s teaching staff, we are proud of this significant improvement and the personalized support all educators are now receiving.”

Education Commissioner David C. Hespe applauded local district leaders who helped successfully implement the new evaluations. “AchieveNJ was very purposefully designed by educators to ensure that those impacted by these policies and activities are the ones leading that work in each district,” he explained. “The lessons and data points embedded in this report are meant to assist our districts and schools as they look to learn from and build upon their initial year of implementation.”

The full report is available online. To learn more about AchieveNJ, visit