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How do you effectively work with a vast amount of data for a large K-12 survey?

Statistical support to largest ever K-12 survey

The National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS) provides descriptive data on the context of elementary and secondary education while also giving policymakers a variety of statistics on the condition of education in the United States.

The NTPS is a redesign of the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), which the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) conducted from 1987 to 2011. Although the NTPS has a different structure and sample than previous SASS administrations, the focus remains on schools and their teachers and principals.

The NTPS collects data on core topics, including teacher and principal preparation, classes taught, school characteristics, and demographics of the teacher and principal labor force every 2 years, beginning in 2015-16. Beginning with 2017-18, NTPS includes both public and private schools, and supports analyses at the state as well as national level.

Each administration of NTPS contains rotating modules on important education topics, such as professional development, working conditions, and evaluation. This approach allows policymakers and researchers to assess trends on both stable and dynamic topics.

NCES turned to Westat to help provide quality control, develop public-use databases, and interpret the vast amount of data compiled.

  • For SASS, Westat reviewed the sampling, weighting, and processing of the data to assure its efficiency and accuracy. We also prepared data sets for release and conducted initial analyses. The last reports are to be released in 2015.
  • For NTPS, we will continue providing the same support and are finalizing work on the survey’s redesign.
  • The SASS and NTPS data sets provide many opportunities for researchers to analyze and report on elementary and secondary educational issues, including investigating trends.

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