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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. 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.

What do I need to know about developing SGOs in 2015-16?

State SGO requirements are the same for 2015-16.  Working closely with educators, the Department has improved guidance and best practices based on educator feedback over the past several years.  “SGO 2.1” is an update to SGO 2.0, the Department’s guidance and workshops for the 2014-15 school year.  In this set of materials, we encourage educators to continue to focus on how SGOs can most positively impact teacher practice and ultimately student achievement.
Our updated SGO 2.1 Guidebook includes recommendations to improve the development process and value of SGOs by focusing on the following four themes:

  • Assessments must be accurate and useful measures of student learning.

Increasing the quality of assessments given is critical in producing high quality SGOs. Building on this work, we are providing a series of “Assessment Design Modules” to assist educators in their continued efforts to develop and choose high quality assessments.The Department has partnered with the United States Department of Education in the development of these modules, which include input from educators from across the state of New Jersey.

  • Student learning can be improved by using SGOs as a tool to enhance and inform teaching.
  • Using a flexible and innovative approach to SGOs can increase their quality and value for teachers and students.
  • Collaboration with colleagues is a critical component of both the SGO process and helping students achieve the goals their teachers set for them.
What resources are available to help me develop SGOs in 2015-16?

The resources below reflect the Department's current recommendations and guidance for SGOs. 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 2.1 Presentation for more details on producing high quality SGOs.
  3. Read the revised SGO 2.1 Guidebook for a step by step guide to SGO development.

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.

Assessment Design Toolkit
Over the past year, the Department collaborated with the United States Education Department to develop this series of modules on assessment design, intended to help all teachers recognize and develop high quality assessments.

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.