A new report from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction finds that teachers with higher effectiveness ratings prior to the pandemic-driven disruptions of the 2020-2021 school year helped mitigate learning loss as students and teachers shifted to remote and hybrid learning.

The report, released by the Office of Learning Recovery and Acceleration (OLR), is based on an analysis of student outcome data. Specifically, the report finds that students scored better on the state’s End-of-Grade and End-of-Course exams during the 2020-21 school year if their teachers had in past years shown strong student outcomes.

In a press release, OLR said the new research study was prompted by questions from school leaders and other educators in school districts who requested an analysis focusing on teacher and principal effectiveness and longevity as possible factors affecting student learning during the shift to additional learning modalities during the pandemic.

The latest report follows a March 2022 report which found that students made less progress, on average, than students in the same grades and courses in previous years.

“We know from our lost instructional time reporting that years of experience are meaningful,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt said. “But knowing if teachers are effective – measured by results with their students – is more meaningful. The findings from this report are important, as it gives us data that will be used to guide our work and guide decision-making as it impacts student success.”

To measure the effectiveness of districts, school, principals, and teachers, North Carolina uses a statistical tool known as EVAAS (Education Value-Added Assessment System). Based on the progress that students demonstrate during a given year, schools and educators receive one of three designations: does not meet expected growth, meets expected growth, or exceeds expected growth. The expectation of growth is always based on the statewide average of progress for students in a given academic year, the Department of Public Instruction said.

The report also highlighted additional findings related to teacher effectiveness during distance and hybrid learning:

  • Results show negative impacts were mitigated for students whose teachers were identified as meeting or exceeding expected growth across all tested subjects and especially for reading in grade 4, math in grades 5 and 6, Math 3 in high school and science in grade 5.
  • Pre-pandemic teaching effectiveness did not appear to mitigate negative impacts in reading in grades 7 or 8.

Dr. Jeni Corn, director of research and evaluation in the Office of Learning Recovery and Evaluation, said in a press release that the report findings could help school leaders in deciding the placement of teachers.

“District and school leaders should consider placing their best, not necessarily most experienced, teachers where they can have the most impact, including early grades reading and middle grades math and science,” Corn said.


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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs