The New Jersey State Board of Education met on March 4, and continued its discussion of proposed regulations that will increase the training requirements for student teachers, strengthen the requirements for the alternate route program and increase the qualifications for substitute teachers. The presentation is available here.

Currently, the regulations for student teachers require one semester of student teaching with an undefined practicum duration and unspecified placements. The newly proposed regulations will require two consecutive semesters (progressing from two days or 14 hours) per week to full-time) of student teaching with an “effective” or “highly effective teacher.” In addition, candidates will be required to have at least 50 hours of practicum in at least two settings, one of which must be a special education setting.

For those earning their certification through the alternate route, pre-service training will increase to 50 hours with a clinical experience from the current 24 without a clinical experience. Training while teaching will go from 10 months to two years. Additionally, alternate route candidates will be required to pass a performance assessment prior to receiving a standard certificate.

Under the proposed regulations, teachers serving under a provisional certificate will earn their standard certificate after two years of service, increasing the requirement by one year. The proposed regulations will also increase the requirements for those mentoring new principals, requiring them to have three years as an effective principal and to have been engaged with New Jersey schools for three of the last five years.

The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) has also proposed increasing the requirements to become a substitute teacher. Current regulations require 60 college credits  to become a substitute teacher, the proposal will require all substitutes to have a bachelor’s degree or have 60 credits while being enrolled in a teacher preparation program.

The regulations will also require those teachers from outside New Jersey to undergo a performance assessment prior to receiving a state teaching license.

Student Growth Percentiles The State Board also heard from NJDOE staffers on what Student Growth Percentiles are and how they are an important indicator of student performance. The presentation is available here.

Student Growth Percentiles (SGPs) measure how much a student has progressed from one year to the next compared to peers with similar academic history from across the state in 4th to 8th-grade Language Arts and 4th to 7th-grade math.

SGP’s will be used as one component of a teacher’s evaluation. An SGP score is derived by comparing a student’s growth on the test to the growth made by that student’s academic peers (students from around the state with similar score histories). By using SGPs, academic progress from year-to-year can be measured. Unlike proficiency rates, which show only whether students are performing at grade level, student growth provides a much more complete picture of achievement and progress at any scale score. For example, a student may be below proficiency but could earn a high SGP score, which, combined with other evidence, signals that the teacher’s instruction and/or principal’s leadership are helping that child catch up.

Other presentations The State Board viewed a video presentation from the New Jersey Attorney General on the importance of the anti-bullying law. The presentation is available here.

The board also began its discussions of the religious holidays calendar which is a list of religious holidays on which it is mandatory to excuse a student. Boards of education, at their discretion, may add other days to the list for the schools of their districts.