National Center for Education Statistics

Study Design Decisions for Postsecondary Sample Surveys

Research Project

Redesigning a survey presents a rare opportunity to consider all aspects of the survey from the perspectives of both the producer and user. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) charged the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) with convening a panel of technical experts to consider the issues for design of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study.

NCES/NISS Task Force on Computer Adaptive Testing for Longitudinal Studies

Research Project

The Task Force was convened to consider the utilization of Computer Adaptive Testing in NCES longitudinal studies in general and in HSLS-09 in particular. Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) is distinguished by the adaptive selection of items for an individual test-taker based on previously collected external information and on responses to earlier items.

Improving SES Estimators

Research Project

Education research has relied for over half a century on eligibility for free/reduced price lunch (FRL) as a primary indicator of a student’s socioeconomic status (SES). With changes in the regulation and the implementation of FRL practices, it is no longer a stable indicator with a universal and relevant definition.

Clear Data Descriptions in NCES Reports

Research Project

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) charged the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) with convening a panel of technical experts to examine the issues of clarity, consistency and effectiveness in reporting NCES study and survey results. NCES is perhaps most widely regarded as a source for assessments of students’ proficiency and their education trajectories.

Taking a Longitudinal View of Administrative Education Data

Research Project

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) conducted their first collection of administrative data on postsecondary education in 1966, almost immediately upon establishment of the Center, with continuing collections through today. The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) was initially fielded as the Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS).

Effect Size, Uncertainty, Completeness

Research Project

The Task Force was convened at ESSI in Washington, DC on December 11, 2006. Also present were NCES Chief Statistician Marilyn Seastrom and Special Assistant to the Commissioner Andrew White. Presentations to the Task Force were made by NCES staff members Chris Chapman, Bill Tirre and John Wirt. Following the meeting the Task Force formulated an initial set of recommendations, which were refined and finalized through a series of e-mail interchanges. These appear in final form in this report.

Technical Expert Report on NCES Study and Survey Recruitment Planning and Materials

Research Project

Surveys and data collections are in a time of flux in almost every aspect; and response rates are declining throughout the federal statistical agencies. Modes of communication are changing, population composition is shifting with new populations of interest emerging, and attitudes toward participation in federal surveys are deteriorating. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) charged a panel of technical experts to examine the impact on the response rate of the current recruitment process and recruitment materials.

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