New Principal Evaluation Guidance Announced by the NJDOE

on May 9, 2018 in principal evaluations

On April 19, 2018 the NJDOE announced it was releasing a new evaluation guidance for principals and assistant principals (Click here for NJDOE official announcement). This guidance came in the form of a new observation instrument developed as the result of a two-year pilot. A small group of districts voluntarily participated and gave feedback, leading to the creation of the new instrument.

As reported in our October 11, 2017 blog, the initial pilot started as result of feedback the NJDOE received from districts. Educational leaders agreed that “observing a single, discrete activity as the basis for measuring a principal’s practice was an inadequate reflection of the work of the principal.”

As a result, the pilot took a two pronged approach to updating the principal evaluation process. One part looked at the actual mechanics of the observation process for principals, while the second part examined which evaluation framework would be most effective for principals.

The original pilot group was made up of educational leaders and worked with feedback from both NJPSA and NJASA. As a result, the model of observation changed from a “single discreet activity” to an evaluation over a “window of time”.  The committee also decided to use the 2015 Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL) as the basis of the framework, what's now known as the New Jersey Principal Evaluation for Professional Learning (NJPEPL) Process and Observation Instrument.

Starting with the 2018-19 school year, districts can adopt the NJPEPL Observation Instrument for tenured/non-tenured principals and assistant principals as the practice component of their evaluation rubric.

Use of the NJPEPL observation instrument offers superintendents and principals a simpler, yet more in-depth, method to conduct observations. This new instrument allows superintendents and principals to gather evidence, artifacts, and documentation over a period of several months. As information is gathered it can be tagged to the appropriate domain(s) in the rubric, helping the observer come to an informed rating for the observation. Using a framework with just seven domains provides a simplicity allowing the superintendent to complete the process with ease.

The NJDOE has a link to the New Jersey Principal Evaluation for Professional Learning Process with complete details. In the coming months, they'll release more in-depth materials and guidance. In addition, during the Summer of 2018, they will offer regional, technical assistance sessions.

OnCourse Systems for Education is happy to have facilitated the use of the new Principal Practice instrument with several NJ school districts during the pilot program. We continue to work with the NJDOE to ensure that our districts have the most up-to-date, accurate information and provide the NJDOE with feedback from a technology perspective.

We're happy to announce that the NJPEPL Observation instrument is already available in our system.  

principal evaluation

If you currently use our Evaluate program and would like to use it to rate your administrators, please contact Support at 1-800-899-7204 ext. 4. If you are not currently a customer and would like to talk to us about this offering, please contact Sam Morgan at 1-800-899-7204 ext. 148 or

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