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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.


  1. Aligning with the current requirement that teachers receive training on the SGO process, proposed regulations require that all administrators also take part in annual SGO refresher training. Districts have discretion in how they conduct this training but based on a number of requests, the Department is providing a set of training guidelines and resources that educators may use to fulfill this requirement. Districts may also use these materials to facilitate training of teachers.  The materials can be found below.
  2. The Department recommends that all teachers set 2 SGOs, regardless of whether or not they receive an SGP score.  
What is the recommended procedure for the annual SGO training for administrators?

What does the Department recommended for annual SGO training of administrators?

Districts should consider differentiating training on the SGO process to take into account the experience of the administrator; hence the two suggested approaches below.  However, districts should adapt these approaches as needed to meet their local needs.

New Administrators

Purpose – administrators receive an introduction to the five step SGO process and other SGO fundamentals.

SGO Basics:

  1. Read the SGO Overview.
  2. Watch all four of the SGO videos in the SGO video series.
  3. Complete the SGO 101 Review and discuss the results with your direct supervisor or mentor.

Experienced Administrators

Purpose – administrator teams improve SGO quality through SGO review, gap analysis and planning.

Improving SGOs

  1. Watch the video series to refresh understanding of Department's requirements and guidance.
  2. Review and analyze the most current staff observation and SGO scores.
  3. Use the SGO Quality Rating Rubric to review and analyze a sample of last year's SGOs.
  4. Identify one or several areas in which the SGO process/product can be improved.
  5. Review resources provided by the Department and those developed locally and determine whether and how they may best be used. (see below)
  6. Contribute to developing, and implementing as indicated, an action plan to address areas needing improvement.
What training materials are available to help administrators meet the training requirement?

What key resources are available to help school districts provide SGO training?

The resources below represent the most current best practices being implemented throughout schools in New Jersey.  These can be used separately or as part of a strategy to facilitate SGO training for administrators and teaching staff and/or SGO improvement in general.

SGO Training Procedures Guidance: The PowerPoint presentation is an excerpt from the Office of Evaluation's summer of 2016 regional training sessions describing both recommended training procedures. This presentation contains links to the supporting training materials, as well as examples of what the "Improving SGOs" training might look like when done by teams of administrators in-district. SGO 2.1 Guidebook (PDF | Word)

SGO Overview: The first place to go for an overview of Student Growth Objectives and the basic requirements surrounding them.

SGO Video Series: A set of four videos designed to be a solid foundation for understanding how to create SGOs which are aligned to standards, grounded in data, and driven by high expectations for students.

SGO Quality Rating Rubric: Redesigned for 2016-17 to be used as a training instrument, this document describes the components of excellent SGOs, guiding districts to other tools and resources that support SGO development.

SGO Excel Scoring and Tracking Tool: This is Microsoft Excel-based resource that allows teachers to compile their SGO data and connect it with their scoring form all in one place. In addition, educators can use this workbook to help in monitoring student growth. Training on the familiarity of this resource will help schools to align SGO data much easier and more efficiently. There is also a quick start guide that can be used for guidance.

The Assessment Design Toolkit: Developed in collaboration with the United States Education Department and New Jersey educators, this series of modules on assessment design are intended to help all teachers recognize and develop high quality assessments.

The Collaborative Teams Toolkit: Developed in collaboration with the United States Education Department and New Jersey educators, this was created in an effort to support the monitoring of SGOs and other student data by providing the necessary tools to promote the environment for having successful evidence-based conversations.

In addition to these resources please see the forms and documents page for past presentations which can be turn-keyed to administrative teams (such as our SGO 2.0 and 2.1 presentations), the SGO guidebook, as well as a plethora of other resources schools can familiarize themselves with in creating high quality SGOs.

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.

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.