The New Jersey Department of Education has contracted with Rutgers University to evaluate a new teacher evaluation system being tried out in 10 school districts across the state.

Acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf says the findings by a review team from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education will be used to guide implementation of the new system in the 2013-14 school year.

The pilot program calls for teacher evaluations to be based half on classroom observations and half on how much progress students show in learning, including how they perform on standardized tests.

Teachers get one of four ratings, from ineffective to highly effective.  State law currently requires only that tenured teachers be observed once a year, with many districts giving marks of only "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory."

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