New DPI report ties teacher effectiveness to mitigation of pandemic learning loss

NC Dept. of Public Instruction building
NC Dept. of Public Instruction building

RALEIGH — A new white paper report from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s Office of Learning Recovery and Acceleration (OLR) links teacher and principal effectiveness to mitigation of pandemic learning loss. 

OLR’s report says that students scored better on the state’s end-of-year tests during the 2020-21 school year if their teachers had in past years shown strong student outcomes. 

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt said in a press release that the latest findings from the state’s learning loss data underscore the value of measuring teacher effectiveness and its impact on student achievement.  

“We know from our lost instructional time reporting that years of experience are meaningful,” 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.” 

The report found students linked to teachers rated as effective or higher before the pandemic experienced less impact on academic achievement during the pandemic than students linked to a teacher rated as less effective before the pandemic. 

Negative impacts were mitigated for students whose teachers were identified as meeting or exceeding expected growth across all tested subjects, according to the results of the report. This was found to be especially true for reading in grade 4, math in grades 5 and 6, Math 3 in high school and grade 5 science. 

Additionally, pre-pandemic teaching effectiveness did not appear to mitigate negative impacts in reading in grades 7 or 8. 

A blog post about the report states that “the impact of the pandemic on student achievement was much more closely related to teachers than to their principals.” Also, teachers and principals who had been at their school for over three years “moderately mitigated the negative effects of the pandemic on students’ performance.” 

According to OLR, the new analysis weighed the longevity of teachers in their same schools before and during the pandemic as a potential factor affecting student outcomes and found longevity “less consequential than effectiveness, as measured by student test scores.”  

“Overall, very little difference was observed in student performance during the pandemic when comparing their teachers’ longevity at their schools for teachers serving 4-7 years or 8 or more years,” the report said. 

“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,” said OLR Director of Research and Evaluation Dr. Jeni Corn. 

OLR partnered with SAS Institute to conduct a comprehensive measure of the pandemic’s impact on student academic progress.  SAS Institute’s statistical tool is called EVAAS (Education Value-Added Assessment System). EVAAS measures effectiveness of schools, districts, teachers and principals. The tool has three designations based on progress students make during the school year; does not meet expected growth, meets expected growth or exceeds expected growth. 


About A.P. Dillon 1257 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_