National Center for Education Statistics

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.

Making NCES Process Data Available

Research Project

Most National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) assessments and surveys are now conducted using electronic modes. In consequence, the data captured include not only responses but also time-stamps and click-by-click chronicles of the response process. These data offer unique insight into the cognitive processes involved in test-taking. They also have potential use for automated scoring and may be useful from a psychometric point of view in evaluating item properties. NCES is now committed to making these process data available to researchers.

New Approach for Sampling Education Surveys

Research Project

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is continually challenged by the problems and the opportunities as data gathering and data analysis evolve with the rapidity of technological change. Problems include rising rates of non-response and increasing need to reduce response burden. An alternative for the basic design of a survey or assessment was presented for consideration to NCES with the objective of remediating the problem of decreasing response rates at all levels and simultaneously providing robust estimates of the measured outcomes and unbiased variance estimators.

Disclosure Risk vs. Data Utility: The R-U Confidentiality Map

Research Project

Empirical analysis requires access to data. For data about important policy and management issues, information organizations (IOs) - such as government statistical agencies - are the conduit between data providers and data users. However, data confidentiality is a concern for IOs as they work to disseminate products based on collected data that contribute legitimate information to their clients - e.g., government policy makers, individuals, firms, non-governmental organizations, the media, and interest groups.

Emerging Issues in Postsecondary Access and Choice

Research Project

The Postsecondary Choice Project was conducted by the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) for the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to address existing and emerging issues of postsecondary access and choice. The project culminated in a workshop held on 26 January 2009 at NCES in Washington, DC, where the papers that make up this report were presented. 

Release of Process Data to Researchers

Research Project

Now that most National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) assessments and surveys are conducted using electronic modes, electronic data capture means that in addition to basic background information and final responses, data includes documentation of the process of responding. These process data comprise a time-stamped, click-by-click record of each student’s progress through the assessment or survey. To date these detailed process data have not been made available; however NCES is now preparing to establish a mechanism for release of process data for research purposes.

Capturing the Conditions and the Impacts of Technology on US K-12 Education

Research Project

The role of technology in education is expanding and changing. Decisions about the utilization of technology for K-12 learners are made variously by teachers, schools, and all levels of governance. Decisions are enabled by funders, by school boards and communities, by parents. At the same time, barriers to successful implementation and utilization of technology for K-12 learning exist and disparities among US learners are great.

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.

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