Overall Impact of RttT on Students, Teachers, and School Leaders

Overview | Evaluation Reports

In addition to monitoring implementation and progress towards specified RttT Targets (to be overseen by the RttT leadership team), North Carolina will conduct evaluations that will provide information about the implementation, outcomes, and sustainability of strategies, policies, and programs related to individual RttT initiatives (see Evaluation Matrices, below). The Evaluation Team also will conduct studies of overall, cross-initiative impacts, with an eye toward understanding variations in the implementation of combinations of strategies across the 115 LEAs and the relationship between these variations and improved student outcomes. Evaluation staff will plan and conduct studies annually to inform statewide progress in each of the five areas below. The focus is on describing the extent to which key projected statewide RttT impacts occur and, where possible, understanding the factors that facilitate progress. At the end of the grant period, a final evaluation report will summarize studies conducted in the following areas:

  1. Enhancing LEA Capacity in ARRA areas and Overall Progress toward Measurable Goals: Studies will examine relationships between the perceived utility of state support provided, the extent of LEA buy-in and implementation of initiatives (as described in Sections B, C, D, and E), and the amount of progress made across all 115 LEAs toward the RttT Targets identified in Table 1 (Section A) and Appendix 3;
  2. Strengthening the Education Workforce: Studies will describe longitudinal data related to teacher and principal preparation, induction, working conditions, retention, and evaluation at both the LEA and State levels;
  3. Improving the Lowest-Achieving Schools and Districts: Studies will describe the longitudinal achievement gains for all schools statewide that scored below the 50%. composite performance level either at the start of the grant period or during that period;
  4. Reducing Inequities Between High-and Low-Poverty LEAs (and Schools within LEAs): Studies will examine the relationship between policies and strategies used and progress made in alleviating the inequitable distribution of resources across LEAs, as well as within LEAs (such as distribution of effective teachers and leaders, distribution of shortage area teachers, etc.); and
  5. Reducing the Achievement Gap: Studies will examine the extent of progress toward RttT targets (NAEP achievement in math and reading, high school graduation rates, college readiness/remediation, college enrollment) by subgroups of students (e.g., African-American, Hispanic, low income), where significant progress by subgroups is occurring, and what strategies are in place in those locations.

Evaluation Reports | Overview

Report Target Date
1. Summary: Formative Assessments of Promising Practices, 2010-2012

Available; posted March 2013
2. North Carolina’s Race to the Top Initiative: An Evaluation Update

Available; posted November 2013
3. A Preliminary Cost Analysis of North Carolina’s Race to the Top Initiatives

This report represents an initial step toward accomplishing the goal of providing actionable cost information at the end of the RttT funding period. The report provides a preliminary analysis of the costs associated with seven state-level initiatives, along with factors for consideration when making final estimates of the relationships between effects and costs. The analyses use expenditure data through the third year of RttT implementation (the 2012-13 school year). Each initiative cost analysis includes: (1) a brief description of the initiative; (2) a discussion of the potential impacts of the initiative; (3) a summary of key findings from previous reports; (4) a summary of state expenditures for the first three years of the RttT grant, along with an expected initiative cost for the first year after RttT funding ends; and (5) a discussion of the types of costs LEAs may have incurred as a result of implementation.

Available; posted September 2014; revised version posted November 2014
4. North Carolina Race to the Top: Overall Impact and Implementation Findings: Final Report

Downloads: Full Report

The ultimate goal of North Carolina’s RttT plan was to build statewide capacity that could support sustained, long-term improvements in public education; namely, increases in student achievement, reductions in achievement gaps, and increases in graduation rates. To address these outcomes, North Carolina’s proposal focused on strengthening the education workforce by providing great teachers for every student and a great principal for every school. Initiatives were designed to provide a coherent approach with mutually-reinforcing components across multiple reform pillars. This overall impact evaluation of North Carolina’s RttT plan revealed notable successes in program implementation, the presence of key sustainability factors, and improvements in the critical education outcome of increased student graduation rates. Comparison between North Carolina and other states also demonstrated that the state posted faster gains than other states on some important academic measures. While analyses of other key education outcomes (such as teacher effectiveness) did not result in significant positive findings, and while some measures of student achievement declined in the wake of adoption of new standards, taken as a whole, the evaluation data support the conclusion that North Carolina’s education infrastructure and important markers of educational attainment are better off now than they were before the start of RttT. The state’s work should not end once grant funding has been exhausted. In order to maintain these successes and improve opportunities for all students to receive an adequate education, the state should continue to commit time and resources to sustaining the successful components of RttT for the foreseeable future.

Available; posted September 2015



For information about our partnerships with North Carolina schools for our Race to the Top evaluation work.

SERVE Center | Carolina Institute for Public Policy | Friday Institute for Educational Innovation