The Office of Learning Recovery and Acceleration (OLR) studies COVID-recovery initiatives within North Carolina’s public schools. OLR has partnered with the EVAAS team at SAS to measure the pandemic’s overall effect on academic progress, based on the results of state standardized tests, by comparing individual students to their own expected performance rather than the average performance of pre-pandemic cohorts. This analysis is one of the most comprehensive of its kind and should inform education policy throughout the state. See preliminary report released in March 2022 and full technical report released in December 2022.
From conversations with critical stakeholders, including superintendents, chief academic officers, and other district and school leaders, during the 2022 year two questions emerged about teacher and principal characteristics during the pandemic that provides the focus for this analysis:
- Were teaching effectiveness and longevity before the pandemic related to the pandemic’s impact on student learning?
- Were principal effectiveness and longevity before the pandemic related to the pandemic’s impact on student learning?
Based on these discussions, this new analysis of the 2020-21 data focused on the impact of certain characteristics of teachers and principals on student growth using a robust data system that utilized students’ entire history of standardized test scores.
We found that students linked to teachers identified as effective or higher prior to the pandemic experienced less impact on academic achievement during the pandemic than students linked to teachers identified as less effective prior to the pandemic. Based on student outcomes, teachers and principals who had been at their school for more than three years moderately mitigated the negative effects of the pandemic on students’ performance. The impact of the pandemic on student achievement was much more closely related to teachers than to their principals.