The field staff structure encompasses all field staff members as well as the supervisory staff required to successfully manage data collection activities. For each assessment this structure is determined by the scope of the annual study design and data collection plan. Assessments including both national and state components require more field staff given these assessments' larger school and student sample sizes and the need to conduct a greater number of assessment sessions throughout a more extensive geographic area during the 6-week field period. Conversely, assessments including only a national component typically require fewer field staff since they involve fewer sampled schools and students, and the schools tend to be located within more compact geographic areas.
NAEP field staff members have a diverse range of backgrounds, yet often share the common characteristic of having career experience in the fields of elementary and secondary education. Many are retired teachers, principals, and school district administrators.
NAEP uses distance and in-person training methods to introduce the field staff to a complex set of data collection activities and to maximize learning retention. Field staff trainings are designed to provide staff members with the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to successfully interact with state, district, and school personnel and to collect NAEP data in accordance with stringent confidentiality and data quality requirements.