Gov. Chris Christie announced Monday a gradual phase-in of using results of new standardized tests for students to judge the performance of New Jersey's teachers.
He also issued an executive order to establish a commission to review the effectiveness of all standardized tests given to students from kindergarten through high school.
The action was expected. Lawmakers twice delayed planned votes on a more drastic change that would have delayed entirely the use of results from the new exams developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers.
Christie likely would have vetoed that measure, but offered his executive action as a compromise.
The new exams, being given for the first time in the coming school years, are designed to measure how well students learn the nationwide core curriculum standards.
They are under criticism in three ways.
Some object to having a national school curriculum; some object to using student test results to judge teachers, and many school districts are concerned about the logistical details of implementing new tests.
Christie's decisions deal mostly with that last — and less politically charged — concern.
The state had called for using how much students improve on certain tests to account for 30 percent of teachers' evaluations. But the concession makes them worth 10 percent of the evaluation in the coming year and 20 percent in 2015-16.
But for teachers who do not teach tested subjects, a slightly higher portion of their evaluations — 20 percent instead of 15 — is now to be based on other measures of students' learning. The rest of the teachers' marks will come from classroom observations.
The state will now also let teachers who get poor ratings because of the test results ask for reviews of their evaluations.
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