This year, big changes reverberated across the AchieveNJ landscape. The NJDOE softened observation requirements, new opt-out rules took effect for highly-effective teachers, and a growing number of districts are rethinking the products they use to evaluate staff.
As schools labored to find their groove with observations and SGOs, it was alarmingly common for administrators to find the process encumbered, not enhanced, by the district’s evaluation product.
This may be why NJ-born OnCourse Evaluate is becoming a fan favorite in its home state, with one in five school districts now using the platform.
“After a year of OnCourse use, I don't want to live without it. The convenience of OnCourse as a 'one stop shop' is amazing, housing our observations/evaluations, SGOs, PDPs and lesson plans. Customer service has been wonderful.”
G. Johnson, Hopewell Valley Regional School District
OnCourse Evaluate was the state’s first platform designed specifically for AchieveNJ guidelines. The 100% cloud-based product boasted the state’s first auto-calculating SGO scoring plans, walkthrough mobile app, and complete AchieveNJ summative extract.
Although OnCourse is known widely as a Student Information System and Lesson Planner provider, the staff performance module caught fire in the second half of the 2015-16 school year. Of its 230 district partners in NJ, almost 60% are now using the OnCourse Evaluate and/or SGO modules. Some even replaced their SIS and evaluation software to be on a unified platform.
“Since day one as schools chose their evaluation instruments, we were confident that OnCourse technology was more intuitive and comprehensive than any of the products we saw on the market,” says OnCourse CEO Chris Contini. He believes that the case for OnCourse has only grown stronger as districts and DOE adapted their approach over the past few years.
“Because we are in the cloud, we can be extraordinarily responsive to feedback. We support any instrument that the district has created or licensed," states Contini. "That means that OnCourse Evaluate fits better into what districts are trying to do to add value to the process."
Visualizing Staff Performance Data
Contini points to data visualization as the next frontier of staff performance technology. "We believe that school leaders who can effortlessly utilize their data will have a massive advantage in moving the needle on teacher practice."
OnCourse is NJ's first provider to offer live visualization of evaluation and SGO data. This provides administrators with new insights into interrater reliability, SGO performance, and hot targets for professional development.