Student Growth Objectives (SGOs)

SGOs are long-term academic goals for groups of students set by teachers in consultation with their supervisors. For a complete overview click here.

NOTE: All 8th grade math teachers must develop two SGOs for 2014-2015. Math teachers who teach grades in addition to 8th grade – grades 6 and 7, for example – may  qualify for an mSGP score.  Teachers who receive an mSGP score may set 1 or 2 SGOs according to the district's decision. For more information, please see the September 30 Broadcast Memo.

NEW: Updated Frequently Asked Questions on Student Growth Objectives (SGOs)

NEW: What do I need to know about developing SGOs in 2014-15?

The Department intends to change the weight of SGOs from 15% to 20% for all teachers in 2014-15, pending approval of related regulations. In addition, the deadline for setting SGOs has been extended to October 31. Working closely with educators over the past year, the Department has developed a set of recommendations to help improve the development process and value of SGOs in 2014-15. The guidance in the table below has already been distributed widely by the Department through published SGO materials and workshops and is collected here for your convenience. Teachers and administrators should use this table below to help guide SGO development going forward.


Take Action

  1. SGOs are learning goals for key concepts and skills that students can be expected to master in a course based on an approximate sense of where they start.
  • Base learning goals on what you want students to know and do by the end of the SGO period. 
  • Get a rough sense of where students begin by using multiple measures of student prior learning (see example).
  • Use pre-assessments only when appropriate.
  1. SGO quality is critically dependent on summative assessment* quality.
  • Increase the quality of the SGO summative assessments and develop common assessments where possible. (SGO 2.0 Presentation)
  1. SGOs should be a true reflection of the daily practice of effective teachers and of the curriculum and students an educator teaches. (2013-14: Lessons from Educators, section 6)
  • Align critical standards, effective instruction, and high quality assessment in SGOs. 
  • Incorporate a significant number of students and portion of curriculum within the SGO(s) (see SGO Quality Rating Rubric).
  • Set differentiated learning goals for students based on their starting points.
  1. SGOs should be collaborative – teacher-driven, administrator-supported, and student-centered (as stated in code 6A:10-4.2 (e) 3).
  • Even though administrators are responsible for approving and scoring SGOs, they should encourage teachers to take ownership of the SGO process as a powerful way to improve teacher practice and student achievement.

*Such assessments include portfolios, performance assessments, benchmark assessments, finals (modified as needed), program-based assessments, standardized tests (e.g. AP), and others.

NEW: What resources are available to help me develop SGOs in 2014-15?

The new and updated resources below reflect the Department's recommendations and guidance for SGOs in 2014-15. The document library contains a complete set of current and previous SGO documents.
A suggested approach for accessing these documents follows:

  1. Read the SGO Overview for updated SGO information. 
  2. Use the SGO 2.0 Presentation for more details on producing high quality SGOs.
  3. Read the revised SGO Guidebook for a step by step guide to SGO development.

SGO Overview (PDF): One page document providing basic information and updates on SGOs.

SGO 2.0 Presentation (PPT | PDF)
Designed by and for use by educators to help improve SGO quality.
Section 1 – the intent of the SGO process to improve teacher practice and student achievement
Section 2 – steps and resources to improve assessment quality
Section 3 – setting appropriate learning goals based on a rough sense of where students start out
Section 4 – developing a plan to increase SGO quality in SGO 2014-15
Note: Supplemental resources for the SGO 2.0 presentation can be found in the document library

2014-15 SGO Form (PDF | Word)
Updated to help teachers include rationale for selected standards, identify and record information for student starting points, record mid-year adjustments to SGOs, and reflect on process in annual conferences.

SGO Quality Rating Rubric (PDF | Word)
Updated with more specific information on assessment quality, and using multiple measures of student starting points.

Assessment Blueprint and Completion Guide (PDF | Word)
Form and guide to help teachers plan, develop, and check high quality assessments.  Use in conjunction with information in SGO 2.0 presentation.

What is an SGO? How does it differ from SGP?

A Student Growth Objective, or SGO, is a long-term academic goal for groups of students set by teachers in consultation with their supervisors. An effective SGO must be:

  • Specific and measureable
  • Aligned to New Jersey's curriculum standards
  • Based on available prior student learning data
  • A measure of student growth and/or achievement
  • Ambitious and achievable

A Student Growth Percentile, or SGP, is a measure of how much a student improves on his or her NJ ASK score from the previous year as compared to students across the state with a similar academic history. Only 4th-8th grade Language Arts or Math teachers with more than 20 qualifying students will receive a median SGP score. In contrast, all teachers must set SGOs two for teachers who do not receive an SGP score, and a locally-determined number of one or two for those who do receive an SGP score.

For an overview of SGOs click here.
For an overview of SGPs click here.

Who is required to set SGOs?

All teachers working under an instructional certificate, with an assigned roster of students and teaching at least one course must set SGOs. SGOs should incorporate a significant proportion of the school year and/or course. The Department recommends, but does not require teachers to have at least 9 weeks of continuous instruction to set SGOs. In cases where a teacher does not have at least a continuous 9-week period of instruction, either due to an extended absence or short course cycles, SGOs can be set for as much time as is available and provided the teacher has an opportunity to have a significant impact on students' learning during that abbreviated period of time. As an option, districts may choose to require other certified staff such as school counselors, media specialists, athletic trainers, nurses, speech pathologists, and others to also set SGOs.

How can SGOs be adjusted?

SGO adjustments may be made with the approval of the chief school administrator by February 15th each school year. The following is a non-exhaustive list of situations that may warrant adjusting SGOs:

  • The teacher's schedule or assignment has changed significantly
  • Class compositions have changed significantly
  • New, higher-quality sources of evidence are available, e.g. baseline data or SGO assessments
  • An unusual event in the classroom, school, or district has occurred that significantly interrupts student learning, e.g. prolonged school closure
  • The teacher has an extended leave of absence
  • Closer inspection of the SGO has revealed flaws in its construction that make it impossible to use as an appropriate measure of teacher effectiveness

Administrators should work with teachers to review and revise SGOs wherever necessary, ensuring that SGO targets remain ambitious and achievable. For guidance on assessing SGO quality and making adjustments to them, please see the following resources:

Assessing and Adjusting SGOs
This document describes the value of assessing submitted SGOs for quality and making adjustments as needed before the February 15th deadline, including a suggested method for inspecting SGO quality.

SGO Quality Assessment Presentation
This presentation can be used to assist a team that is assessing SGO quality; it describes the components of a high quality SGO and includes SGO samples of varying quality.

Where can I find examples of SGOs?

In conjunction with educators from around the state, the Department has created several exemplar SGOs. These are designed as teaching tools, and come with annotations that explain their strengths and weaknesses. To view these exemplars, click here.

Still have questions?
Step 1: Read our FAQ
Step 2: Review additional resources in our document library
Step 3: Contact us at: or 609-777-3788

*Note that the department is currently working to develop a larger complete set of example SGOs so please continue to check back periodically.