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Honors and Awards

Associate Professor Anna Egalite Ranked Among Education Week’s Top 200 Scholars Who had the Biggest Influence on Educational Practice and Policy for 3rd Consecutive Year

NC State College of Education Associate Professor Anna Egalite on her EduScholar ranking

NC State College of Education Associate Professor Anna Egalite has been ranked by Education Week’s 2022 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings as one of the Top 200 education scholars who had the biggest influence on educational practice and policy in 2021.

This is the third year Egalite has been selected from a pool of more than 20,000 qualified scholars to be ranked among the Top 200.

“Being ranked as an influential EduScholar is an honor, and I am humbled to be included on this list,” Egalite said. “I hope it communicates the incredible things that are happening in the Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis Ph.D. program area of study at NC State. Our students and faculty are engaged in important research with real-world impact on policy and practice.”

One of Egalite’s most significant projects in 2021 was the release of “How Principals Affect Students and Schools: A Systematic Synthesis of Two Decades of Research,” which was funded by a $463,000 grant from the Wallace Foundation. The report, which Egalite co-authored with Jason Grissom of Vanderbilt University and Constance Lindsay of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, demonstrated the impact of school principals is even greater than initially believed. 

Through an analysis of six longitudinal studies that collected data from more than 22,000 principals, the report determined that academic gains made by students who attend a school with an effective principal are significant. For example, replacing a below-average principal, who ranks in the 25th percentile, with an above average principal, who ranks in the 75th percentile, can result in academic gains equivalent to about three months of additional learning in math and reading, according to the study.

The report received the 2021 Education Policy Collaborative’s Policy Product Award for its “immediate evidence of impact,” clear focus on dissemination to key stakeholders at the state and district level and because it has already had an influence on the discourse around investment in school improvement. The findings and recommendations from the report have been considered at the highest levels of the U.S. government, as Egalite and her co-authors shared the study with President Joe Biden’s Educational Transition Team after receiving a request from team lead Linda Darling-Hammond. Additionally, a summary of the findings was included in documents prepared for the U.S. Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee in connection with confirmation hearings for Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

In the coming year, Egalite said she is working with Brian Kisida, of the University of Missouri, Columbia, and Dan Bowen, of Texas A&M University, on a project with a uniquely rigorous experimental research design that will allow them to make causal claims about the effect of teacher-student race and ethnicity matching on student achievement in six U.S. school districts. 

“We believe this line of research is important because, while the share of Black, Hispanic and Asian American teachers in public elementary schools and secondary schools has increased in recent years, it has not kept pace with growth in the racial and ethcnic diversity of students,” Egalite said. “Prior, often quasi-experimental, research has shown that students of color experience a variety of benefits from assignment to more diverse teachers. With this data set, we can actually generate causal estimates of that relationship.” 

Additionally, Egalite will be collaborating with College of Education doctoral student Daniela Barriga—who served as a research assistant on the Wallace Foundation project along with graduate student Elizabeth Uzzel—throughout 2022 on a study of race-matching effects for students of color with disabilities. Focusing on inclusion students, or those students with disabilities who spend the majority of the school day in a mainstream classroom, Egalite and Barriga will investigate specific disabilities as a moderator in a study Egalite believes will be a unique contribution to the field.