A new report from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction finds that teachers who had higher effectiveness ratings before the coronavirus pandemic had better success in mitigating learning loss in the shift to remote learning.
The report, released by the Office of Learning Recovery and Acceleration (OLR), is based on an analysis of student outcome data. It 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 success outcomes.
The 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, OLR explained in a press release.
“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 the Education Value-Added Assessment System, a statistical tool. 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,” said the Department of Public Instruction.
The report also highlights how negative impacts associated with remote learning 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.
In adding, the report finds that pre-pandemic teaching effectiveness did not appear to mitigate negative impacts in reading in grades 7 or 8.
Overall, the report’s findings could help school leaders in deciding the placement of teachers, Dr. Jeni Corn, director of research and evaluation in the Office of Learning Recovery and Evaluation, said in a press release.
“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.