Skip Navigation
Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Grant

Title: Equity in Virginia's Public Education System: A Longitudinal Examination Spanning the COVID-19 Shutdown
Center: NCER Year: 2021
Principal Investigator: Xu, Xianxuan Awardee: Virginia Department of Education
Program: Using Longitudinal Data to Support State Education Policymaking      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (06/1/2021 – 05/31/2024) Award Amount: $999,912
Type: Exploration Award Number: R305S210009

Co-Principal Investigators: Miller, Luke; Meyers, Dave; Schueler, Beth

Partner Institutions: Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the University of Virginia

Purpose: The Virginia Department of Education and the University of Virginia will examine student equity of access to instructional opportunities and educational outcomes and describe how Virginia's responses to COVID-19 may have influenced equity in student outcomes and differences in teacher outcomes across student characteristics.

Project Activities: This work will include four activities:

  • Identify the short-term patterns (SY 2009–10 through SY 2020–21) in both student and teacher outcomes (before versus after the COVID-19-induced statewide school closures).
  • Describe the variation in division responses (132 divisions) to the shutdown in the spring and summer of 2020 as well as their reopening plans for fall 2020 and any modifications to these plans over time.
  • Describe the medium-term patterns in student and teacher outcomes (through school year 2022–23) for their equity implications and the links between various features of the COVID-19 response and reopening plans on equity in student and teacher outcomes.
  • Conduct a feasibility study on the extent to which the current Virginia Longitudinal Data System (VLDS) data can identify instructional linkages between students and teachers when there is more than one teacher working in a classroom.

Products: The project team will produce five types of research products: 13 research briefs for non-technical audiences, three research papers, data tables for a state equity dashboard, an original database of divisions' responses to COVID-19 and reopening plans, and a report on instructional linkages between students and teachers. They will present findings and recommendations at policymaker and researcher conferences and to the divisions through ongoing meetings and communications between the Virginia Superintendent of Instruction and division superintendents.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This project takes place in the state of Virginia.

Sample: This project includes all students and licensed personnel (teachers, student support personnel, and administrators) in all Virginia public schools for the years 2009–10 through 2022–23.

Key Issue, Program, or Policy: The project team will examine equity in student outcomes, differences in teacher outcomes across student body characteristics, and how the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown and reopening may have influenced them.

Research Design and Methods: The project team will use descriptive and correlational analyses along with a quasi-experimental design (difference-in-differences).

Control Condition: There is no true control condition, but the project team will examine variation in divisions' shutdown response plans and reopening plans.

Key Measures: The project team will use the student data in the VDLS, specifically student outcomes (test scores, chronic absenteeism, grade-level retention, AP and CTE course-taking and program completion, high school graduation, postsecondary enrollment, reclassification of English Learners, and mobility) and characteristics . The project team will draw teacher outcomes (retention, changes in full-time equivalency, changes in grades or subjects taught, movement to administrative roles) and characteristics  from the Master Schedule Collection of the VLDS and the Teacher Education and License System. The team will draw information on divisions' shutdown response and reopening plans  from the plans submitted to the VDOE and a survey of a sample of divisions.

Data Analytic Strategy: The project team will use different strategies for each of the four activities. They will measure short-term deviations from pre-shutdown trends by predicting outcomes for school year 2020–21 based on pre-shutdown trends using interrupted time series models and seemingly unrelated regressions. The team will use qualitative document coding to characterize each division's COVID-19 pandemic response.  They will correlate reopening plans and division characteristics with the types of plans using regression. The project team will use a difference-in-differences model to compare changes in outcomes (before vs. after the shutdown) for those divisions who implemented one type of plan compared to divisions that implemented a different type of plan. In addition, the team will use descriptive analytics to determine the degree to which VLDS data can identify which teacher is providing instruction to which students when there is more than one teacher linked to a class.

State Decision Making: The findings will be useful as VDOE considers

  • Allocation of state and federal resources to support recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 disruptions on student and teachers,
  • The revision of the current state and federal accountability systems which assumes students learn in-person in the classroom in the school, and
  • The future use of remote instruction.

Related IES Projects: Developing a Research and Policy Agenda to Improve Student Climate in Virginia(R305H170016); Visualizing Equity: Supporting Continuity in Educational Opportunities for Students with Additional Needs Using Virginia's Cross-Sector Longitudinal Data System(R372A200001); Teacher Working Conditions and Equitable Student Outcomes(R305A200106)