A new report analyzing how North Carolina students performed during last year’s far-reaching COVID-19 disruptions finds that learning progress has slowed in every grade and every subject.
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Office of Accelerated Learning Recovery (OLR) report showed that students made less progress, on average, than students in the same levels and courses in previous years.
Findings presented today at the State Board of Education also show that students who experienced more face-to-face learning in the classroom, and where specific and targeted resources and supports were implemented immediately, made greater gains than students who only learned virtually.
To understand the impact of the pandemic on student learning, the report compared students’ projected scores for the 2020-21 school year on end-of-year and end-of-course state exams with their scores actual for the 2020-21 school year. Because this analysis was based on student-level data instead of aggregate student samples, this report is one of the most comprehensive to date on the effects of the pandemic on students in the state and around the world. country.
The findings of this report will help NCDPI better target resources and prioritize funding to the most impacted students and areas of the state in greatest need.
During today’s presentation, DPI staff highlighted the following key findings:
On average, students have made less progress during the pandemic than in previous years;
The results show that there was a negative impact for all pupils, for all grades, for almost all subjects (except English II), and in particular for mathematics (5e-9e); Science (8th);
Students who returned to the classroom for face-to-face learning and where specific and targeted resources and supports were immediately put in place fared better than students whose instruction was purely remote and who were physically disengaged from their school community.
Office of Recovery and Accelerated Learning staff offered these key points to the board with a focus on closing opportunity gaps:
Connectivity – Students need reliable high-speed Internet access at home, which directly impacts their ability to access robust and dynamic learning materials and resources. Cross-industry partnerships should focus on addressing the rural and economic broadband divide.
In-person instruction – The majority of students need regular interaction and direct personal engagement with their principals, teachers and peers.
Students disproportionately affected by the pandemic – Education officials and teachers should focus resources and targeted interventions on students who have been hardest hit by the learning disruptions caused by the pandemic.
Focus on the most needed content areas – Education leaders and teachers should focus resources and targeted interventions on early grade reading, middle grade math, and transition grade science (grades 5 and 8).
As required by legislation passed by the NC General Assembly (SL 2021-3 HB 196), DPI has contracted with SAS to collect, analyze and report data relating to the aggregate impacts of COVID-19 on units public schools, students and families.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt said while the report’s findings are not surprising given the challenges students and teachers have faced over the past year, they are invaluable to education officials.
“These findings are critical to understanding how we continue to work toward statewide recovery and acceleration,” Truitt said. “This preliminary report will help us identify students in North Carolina who need additional supports and allow us to better target resources to specific levels and content areas. This data is a significant step forward in our work to identify challenges so we can continue to develop and support district-run interventions that accelerate student learning. »
Eric Davis, president of the State Board of Education, said the report “confirms what we know our students need. Prior to the pandemic, the state’s strategic public education plan called for closing opportunity gaps, targeting resources and supports, and increasing the number of adults in our classrooms to increase personal interactions with students. While all students have been impacted by COVID, our students who were impacted the most before the pandemic are impacted the most by COVID. This preliminary report reinforces the urgency for our state to take bold and aggressive action to accelerate the educational success of our students.
Dr. Maher, director of the Office of Recovery and Accelerated Learning, said the results provide actionable research that districts and schools can use to help students recover instructional time during the pandemic.
“Importantly, these findings also have the potential to show us which district- and charter-led recovery and accelerated learning programs and interventions are working well for students across the state.” We look forward to connecting with these schools and districts to highlight these promising practices and elevate them to help others. Our work in OLR has only just begun and in the coming months we will be working with district and state leaders to decide what higher-level analytics are needed to best serve students.
Using the results, NCDPI will better understand which recovery and accelerated learning programs are most needed and highlight those that have best served students. Going forward, this report will serve as a baseline to track progress over time and ensure students continue to accelerate their learning.
In mid-March, OLR will present these preliminary findings to the Joint North Carolina General Assembly Legislative Education Oversight Committee (JLEOC). It is possible to get input from state and local leaders on the next levels of analysis. The technical and final report on the impact of lost teaching time is expected in December.
Click here for a study FAQ.
Click here for a summary page of the main results.
Click here to see the PowerPoint presentation shared by the OLR.
Click here to see the full report on lost teaching time.