Data Accrue on Pandemic Learning Loss for N.C. Students

By March 31, 2022 News

Learning loss data from the pandemic continue to accrue, providing information on impacts–and implications. WFAE’s Ann Doss Helms has written recently about the issue, for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) and for the state. In particular, a report shared with the CMS Board last week indicated concern is deepening about third grade reading. Those data show third-graders this year are expected to score even lower on state tests than students last year. Findings could be a bellwether for the state as a whole. Read the full WFAE article here.

More on DPI’s learning loss report

Meanwhile, the rest of this blog post provides a deeper dive on the state’s learning loss report presented to the State Board of Education earlier this month. You can find that report from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) here and the presentation here. As I noted in an earlier blog post, data show a negative impact from the pandemic for students across all grades and nearly every subject. The only exception is English II. Especially hard-hit in terms of content: math in the middle grades. See the table from the report below:

This table and other tables are from “An Impact Analysis of Student Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” N.C. Department of Public Instruction. Click on screenshot images to access the full report.

Traditional public schools and public charter schools

In March, I also shared this bar chart from DPI’s report, showing learning loss in traditional public schools and in charter schools, by effect size. Here it is again:

The report also includes a table that breaks out effect sizes, based on school model, by subject/grade:


For both school models, negative impacts were consistent for students across grades and subjects, with English II serving as the sole standout. But the magnitude of learning loss at public charter schools did appear to be slightly lower in nearly every grade and subject–except for third grade reading, where the effect size was the same. Students made more progress in English II at charter schools.

In a March presentation to the Charter Schools Advisory Board, leaders from the Office of Learning Recovery at DPI pointed to these differences as “small,” and said they do not intend to disaggregate results further.