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Note 3: Other Surveys (2007)


The Census Bureau introduced the American Community Survey (ACS) in 1996. When fully implemented in 2005, it will provide a large monthly sample of demographic, socioeconomic, and housing data comparable in content to the Long Form of the Decennial Census. Aggregated over time, these data will serve as a replacement for the Long Form of the Decennial Census. The survey includes questions mandated by federal law, federal regulations, and court decisions.

Beginning in 2005, the survey has been mailed to approximately 250,000 addresses in the United States and Puerto Rico each month, or about 2.5 percent of the population annually. A larger proportion of addresses in small governmental units (e.g., American Indian reservations, small counties, and towns) will receive the survey. The monthly sample size is designed to approximate the ratio used in Census 2000, requiring more intensive distribution in these areas.

National-level data from ACS are available starting with the year 2000. Under the current timetable, annual results will be available for areas with populations of 65,000 or more beginning in the summer of 2006, for areas with populations of 20,000 or more in the summer of 2008, and for all areas—down to the census tract level—by the summer of 2010. This schedule is based on the time it will take to collect data from a sample size large enough to produce accurate results for different size geographic units.

Indicator 6 uses data from the ACS for the years 2000–05. For further details on the survey, see


The NCES Common Core of Data (CCD), the Department of Education’s primary database on public elementary and secondary education in the United States, is a comprehensive annual, national statistical database of information concerning all public elementary and secondary schools (approximately 94,000) and school districts (approximately 17,000). The CCD consists of five surveys that state education departments complete annually from their administrative records. The database includes a general description of schools and school districts; data on students and staff, including demographics; and fiscal data, including revenues and current expenditures.

Indicators 3, 4, 24, 30, 32, 37, 38, 39, and 40 use data from the CCD. Further information about the database is available at


The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–99 (ECLS-K) is an ongoing study conducted by NCES. Launched in fall 1998, the study follows a nationally representative sample of children from kindergarten through 8th grade. The purpose of the ECLS-K is twofold: to be both descriptive and analytic. First, the ECLS-K provides descriptive national data on children’s status at entry into school; children’s transition into school; and children’s progression through 5th grade. Second, the ECLS-K provides a rich dataset that enables researchers to study how a wide range of family, school, community, and individual variables affect children’s early success in school.

A nationally representative sample of 21,260 children who enrolled in 1,277 kindergarten programs participated in the initial survey during the 1998–99 school year. These children were selected from both public and private kindergartens that offered full- and half-day programs. The sample consists of children from different racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and includes an oversample of Asian/Pacific Islander children. All kindergarten children within the sampled schools were eligible for the sampling process, including language minority and special education students. The sample design for the ECLS-K is a dual-frame, multistage sample. First, 100 Primary Sampling Units (PSUs), which are counties or groups of counties, were selected. Schools within the PSUs were then selected. Public schools were selected from a public school frame, and private schools were selected from a private school frame that oversampled private kindergartens. In fall 1998, approximately 23 kindergartners were selected within each of the sampled schools.

Data on the kindergarten cohort were collected in the fall and spring of the kindergarten year from the children, their parents, and their teachers. In addition, information was collected from children’s schools and school districts in the spring of the kindergarten year. During the 1999–2000 school year, when most of the cohort moved to the 1st grade, data were collected from a 30 percent subsample of the cohort in the fall and from the full sample in the spring. In kindergarten, over 90 percent of the fall assessments took place in October and November of 1998, and over 90 percent of the spring assessments took place in April and May of 1999. Spring 1st-grade data were obtained between March and July of 2000, and spring 3rd-grade data were obtained between March and July of 2002, with 80 percent of each of the spring 1st-grade and spring 3rd-grade assessments conducted between early April and late May. Spring 5th-grade data were collected from February through June of 2004, with over 75 percent of the child assessments completed by the end of April.

Trained evaluators assessed children in their schools and collected information from parents over the telephone. Teachers and school administrators were contacted in their schools and asked to complete questionnaires. The children and their families, teachers, and schools provided information on children’s cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development. Information was also collected on the children’s home environment, home educational practices, school and classroom environments, curricula, and teacher qualifications.

The ECLS-K 5th-grade direct cognitive assessment battery was designed to assess children’s academic achievement in the spring of 5th grade and to provide a means of measuring growth since kindergarten entry. Therefore, the cognitive assessments (the K–1 assessment and the 3rd- and 5th-grade assessments) were designed to have overlapping items, i.e., items that were included in at least two rounds of data collection.

In indicator 16, which is a cross-sectional analysis of the ECLS-K study, findings are representative of students in school in spring 2004 who were in kindergarten in fall 1998, including students who may have been in kindergarten for the second time in fall 1998 and students who were not assessed in English at some point in the study.

Further information on the survey is available at


The Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002) is the fourth major national longitudinal survey of high school students conducted by NCES. Three previous surveys are similar: the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 (NLS:72), the High School and Beyond Longitudinal Study of 1980 (HS&B:80), and the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88). Like its predecessors, ELS:2002 is designed to provide information to researchers, policymakers, and the public about high school students’ experiences and activities, as well as to track subsequent changes in these young people’s lives when they leave high school, enroll in college, and subsequently enter the workforce or when they enter the workforce immediately after high school.

ELS:2002 sampled and collected data from 10th-graders in spring 2002 (the base year), along with data from their English and mathematics teachers, their school’s librarian and principal, and one parent for each student. The base-year data include 10th-graders’ scores on cognitive tests in reading and mathematics. About 750 schools were selected (in both the public and private sectors). In these schools, about 15,000 students—along with about 13,000 of their parents, 7,000 of their teachers, 700 of their principals, and 700 of their librarians—completed base-year surveys.

The first follow-up collected data from cohort members 2 years later, when most of them were 12th-graders in the spring of 2004. The sample of 12th-graders was also augmented with students who were not sophomores in 2002 (or not in the country) to provide a nationally representative sample of 12th-graders. Special questionnaires were administered to the sophomore cohort members who were no longer in school as a result of dropping out or graduating early. A mathematics test was administered to the 12th-graders, and their high school transcripts were collected from the schools.

ELS:2002 has collected information on students’ experiences while in high school (including their coursetaking, achievement, extracurricular activities, social lives, employment, and risk-taking behaviors); students’ aspirations, life goals, attitudes, and values; and the influence of family members, friends, teachers, and other people in their lives.

The second follow-up was administered in the spring of 2006, when many of the 12th-graders were enrolled in college and some had entered the workforce. Data were collected on the colleges that students applied to, the financial aid offers they received, the colleges they attended, and the financial aid they received while in college.

A third follow-up is tentatively scheduled for the spring of 2010, when many of the sample members who attend college will have graduated.

Following the same cohort of students over time allows data users to monitor changes in students’ lives, including their progress through high school, participation in postsecondary education (entry, persistence, achievement, and attainment), early experiences in the labor market, family formation, and civic participation. In addition, by combining data about students’ school programs, coursetaking experiences, and cognitive outcomes with information from teachers and principals, the ELS:2002 data support investigation of numerous educational policy issues.

Indicators 21 and 22 use data from ELS:2002. For further details on the survey, see


The Education Longitudinal Studies program began over 30 years ago with the implementation of the National Longitudinal Study of 1972 (NLS-72). High School and Beyond (HS&B), the second in the series of NCES longitudinal studies, was launched in 1980. HS&B included one cohort of high school seniors comparable to the NLS-72 sample; however, the study also extended the age span and analytical range of NCES longitudinal studies by surveying a sample of high school sophomores. Base-year data collection took place in the spring term of the 1979–80 academic year with a two-stage probability sample. More than 1,000 schools served as the first-stage units, and 58,000 students within these schools were the second-stage units. Both cohorts of HS&B participants were resurveyed in 1982, 1984, and 1986; the sophomore group also was surveyed in 1992. In addition, to better understand the school and home contexts of the sample members, data were collected from teachers (a teacher comment form in the base year asked for teacher perceptions of HS&B sample members), principals, and a subsample of parents. High school transcripts were collected for a subsample of sophomore cohort members. As in NLS-72, postsecondary transcripts were collected for both HS&B cohorts; however, the sophomore cohort transcripts cover a much longer time span (to 1993).

With the study design expanded to include a sophomore cohort, HS&B provided critical data on the relationships between early high school experiences and students’ subsequent educational experiences in high school. For the first time, national data were available that showed students’ academic growth over time and how family, community, school, and classroom factors were associated with student learning. Researchers were able to use data from the extensive battery of achievement tests within the longitudinal study to assess growth in knowledge and cognitive skills over time. Moreover, data were then available to analyze the school experiences of students who later dropped out of high school and, eventually, to investigate their later educational and occupational outcomes.

Indicators 21 and 22 use data from HS&B-So:80. Further information about the survey is available at


The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is the core program that NCES uses for collecting data on postsecondary education. (Before IPEDS, some of the same information was collected by the Higher Education General Information Survey [HEGIS].) Indicators 8, 9, 26, 28, and 44 use data from HEGIS. IPEDS is a single, comprehensive system that encompasses all identified institutions whose primary purpose is to provide postsecondary education.

IPEDS consists of institution-level data that can be used to describe trends in postsecondary education at the institution, state, and/or national levels. For example, researchers can use IPEDS to analyze information on (1) enrollments of undergraduates, first-time freshmen, and graduate and first-professional students by race/ethnicity and sex; (2) institutional revenue and expenditure patterns by source of income and type of expense; (3) salaries of full-time instructional faculty by academic rank and tenure status; (4) completions (awards) by type of program, level of award, race/ethnicity, and sex; (5) characteristics of postsecondary institutions, including tuition, room and board charges, calendar systems, and so on; (6) status of postsecondary vocational education programs; and (7) other issues of interest.

Participation in IPEDS was a requirement for the 6,600 institutions that participated in Title IV federal student financial aid programs such as Pell Grants or Stafford Loans during the 2005–06 academic year. Title IV institutions include traditional colleges and universities, 2-year institutions, and for-profit degree- and non-degree-granting institutions (such as schools of cosmetology), among others. Each of these three categories is further disaggregated by control (public, private not-for-profit, and private for-profit), resulting in nine institutional categories, or sectors. In addition, 83 administrative offices (central and system offices) listed in the IPEDS universe were expected to provide minimal data through a shortened version of the Institutional Characteristics component. Four of the U.S. service academies are included in the IPEDS universe as if they were Title IV institutions. Institutions that do not participate in Title IV programs may participate in the IPEDS data collection on a voluntary basis.

IPEDS data for 1999 were imputed using alternative procedures. See NCES 2007-017, Guide to Sources, for more information.

Indicators 8, 9, 26, 28, 42, and 44 use data from the IPEDS. The institutional categories used in the surveys are described in supplemental note 9. Further information about IPEDS is available at


The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), conducted by NCES in 2003, and its earlier sister survey, the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS), assess the literacy of adults age 16 or older living in households or prisons. Respondents were asked to demonstrate that they understood the meaning of information found in texts they were asked to read.

The assessment defines literacy as “using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.” Results are reported on three literacy scales:

  • Prose literacy: the knowledge and skills needed to perform document tasks (i.e., to search, comprehend, and use information from continuous texts).

  • Document literacy: the knowledge and skills needed to perform document tasks (i.e., to search, comprehend, and use information from noncontinuous texts in various formats).

  • Quantitative literacy: the knowledge and skills required to perform quantitative tasks (i.e., to identify and perform computations, either alone or sequentially, using numbers embedded in printed materials).

Within each of these three literacy scales, respondents were grouped based upon their achievement level. Below Basic indicates no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills; Basic indicates skills necessary to perform simple and everyday literacy activities; Intermediate indicates skills necessary to perform moderately challenging literacy activities; and Proficient indicates skills necessary to perform more complex and challenging literacy activities.

To compare results between 1992 and 2003, the 1992 results were rescaled using the criteria and methods established for the 2003 assessment.

Indicator 18 uses information from NAAL and NALS. Further information about NAAL can be found at


The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) is the nation’s primary source of information on criminal victimization. Initiated in 1972 and redesigned in 1992, the NCVS annually collects detailed information on the frequency and nature of the crimes of rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated and simple assault, theft, household burglary, and motor vehicle theft experienced by Americans and their households each year. The survey measures crimes reported to police as well as those not reported. The NCVS sample consists of about 53,000 households. U.S. Census Bureau personnel interview all household members age 12 or older within each sampled household to determine whether they had been victimized by the measured crimes during the 6 months preceding the interview. About 75,235 persons age 12 or older are interviewed each 6 months. Households remain in the sample for 3 years and are interviewed seven times at 6-month intervals. The first of these seven household interviews is used only to bind future interviews by establishing a time frame in order to avoid duplication of crimes reported in the six subsequent interviews. After their seventh interview, households are replaced by new sample households. Data are obtained on the frequency, characteristics, and consequences of criminal victimization in the United States. The survey enables the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) to estimate the likelihood of victimization for the population as a whole, as well as for segments of the population such as women, the elderly, members of various racial groups, city dwellers, or other groups. The NCVS provides the largest national forum for victims to describe the impact of crime and the characteristics of violent offenders.

Indicator 36 uses data from NCVS. Further information about the survey is available at


The National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88) is the third major secondary school student longitudinal study sponsored by NCES. The two studies that preceded NELS:88, the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 (NLS–72) and the High School and Beyond Longitudinal Study of 1980 (HS&B:80), surveyed high school seniors (and sophomores in HS&B) through high school, postsecondary education, and work and family formation experiences. Unlike its predecessors, NELS:88 begins with a cohort of 8th-grade students. In 1988, some 25,000 8th-graders and their parents, teachers, and school principals were surveyed. Follow-ups were conducted in 1990, 1992, and 1994, when a majority of these students were in 10th and 12th grades, and then 2 years after their scheduled high school graduation. A fourth follow-up was conducted in 2000.

NELS:88 is designed to provide trend data about critical transitions experienced by young people as they develop, attend school, and embark on their careers. It complements and strengthens state and local efforts by furnishing new information on how school policies, teacher practices, and family involvement affect student educational outcomes (i.e., academic achievement, persistence in school, and participation in postsecondary education). For the base year, NELS:88 includes a multifaceted student questionnaire, four cognitive tests, and separate questionnaires for parents, teachers, and schools.

In 1990, when the students were in 10th grade, the students, school dropouts, teachers, and school principals were surveyed. The 1988 survey of parents was not a part of the 1990 follow-up. In 1992, when most of the students were in 12th grade, the second follow-up conducted surveys of students, dropouts, parents, teachers, and school principals. Also, information from the students’ transcripts was collected.

In 1994, the third follow-up of students took place. By this time, most of the survey participants had graduated from high school, and many had begun postsecondary education or entered the workforce. This follow-up focused on issues related to postsecondary access, employment, and whether high school dropouts had earned a high school credential (and, if so, by what route). In 2000, the fourth (and final) NELS:88 follow-up occurred. By this time, most of the participants had been out of high school for 8 years. The study focused on postsecondary enrollment and completion, transitions into the labor force, and family formation. For those who had enrolled in any postsecondary education, postsecondary transcripts were collected from each institution attended.

Indicator 22 uses data from NELS:88/90, “First Follow-up, 1990.” Further information about the survey is available at


The National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES), conducted in 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2005, collects data on educational issues that cannot be addressed by school-level data. Each survey collects data from households on at least two topics; topics include adult education, early childhood program participation, parental involvement in education, and before- and afterschool activities.

NHES surveys the civilian, noninstitutionalized U.S. population in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Interviews are conducted using computer-assisted telephone interviewing. Data are collected from adults and occasionally from older children (grades 6–12). When children are sampled, data about them are collected from the parent or guardian who is most knowledgeable.

Although NHES is conducted primarily in English, provisions are made to interview persons who speak only Spanish. Questionnaires are translated into Spanish, and bilingual interviewers, who are trained to complete the interview in either English or Spanish, are employed. NHES only conducts interviews in English and Spanish, so if no respondent in the household can speak at least one of these two languages, then the interview is not completed.

Indicators 2, 10, and 29 use data from the NHES. Further information about the program is available at


The National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) is based on a nationally representative sample of all students in postsecondary education institutions, including undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional students. For NPSAS:04, information was obtained from approximately 80,000 undergraduates and 11,000 graduate or first-professional students from about 1,400 postsecondary institutions. These students represented nearly 19 million undergraduate students, 3 million graduate students, and 300,000 first-professional students who were enrolled at some time between July 1, 2003, and June 30, 2004.

NPSAS is a comprehensive nationwide study designed to determine how students and their families pay for postsecondary education and to describe some demographic and other characteristics of those enrolled. Students attending all types and levels of institutions are represented, including private (both not-for-profit and for-profit) and public 4-year colleges and universities, community colleges, and less-than-2-year institutions.

To be eligible for inclusion in the institutional sample, an institution must have satisfied the following conditions: (1) offers an education program designed for persons who have completed secondary education; (2) offers an academic, occupational, or vocational program of study lasting 3 months or longer; (3) offers access to the general public; (4) offers more than just correspondence courses; and (5) is located in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Part-time and full-time students enrolled in academic or vocational courses or programs at these institutions, and not concurrently enrolled in a high school completion program, are eligible for inclusion in NPSAS. The first NPSAS, conducted in 1986–87, sampled students enrolled in fall 1986. Since the 1989–90 NPSAS, students who enrolled at any time during the year have been eligible for inclusion in the survey. This design change provides the opportunity to collect data necessary to estimate full-year financial aid awards.

Unless otherwise specified, all estimates in The Condition of Education using data from NPSAS include students in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Each NPSAS survey provides information on the cost of postsecondary education, the distribution of financial aid, and the characteristics of both aided and nonaided students and their families. Following each survey, NCES publishes three major reports: Student Financing of Undergraduate Education, Student Financing of Graduate and First-Professional Education, and Profile of Undergraduates in U.S. Postsecondary Education Institutions (see NCES 2006-184, 2006-185, 2006-186).

Indicators 46, 47, and 48 use data from NPSAS. Further information about the survey is available at


The Private School Universe Survey (PSS) was established in 1988 to ensure that private school data dating back to 1890 would be collected on a more regular basis. With the help of the Census Bureau, the PSS is conducted biennially to provide the total number of private schools, students, and teachers, and to build a universe of private schools in the 50 states and the District of Columbia to serve as a sampling frame of private schools for NCES sample surveys.

In the most recent PSS data collection, conducted in 2003–04, the survey was sent to 31,848 qualified private schools, and it had a response rate of 94.6 percent.

Indicator 4 uses data from the PSS. Further information on the surveys is available at


The Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) is the nation’s largest sample survey of America’s elementary and secondary schools. First conducted in 1987–88, SASS periodically surveys the following:

  • surveys public schools and collects data on school districts, schools, principals, teachers, and library media centers;

  • surveys private schools and collects data on schools, principals, teachers, and library media centers;

  • surveys schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and collects data on schools, principals, teachers, and library media centers; and

  • surveys public charter schools and collects data on schools, principals, teachers, and library media centers.

To ensure that the samples contain sufficient numbers for estimates, SASS uses a stratified probability sample design. Public and private schools are oversampled into groups based on certain characteristics. After the schools are stratified and sampled, the teachers within the schools are stratified and sampled based on their characteristics. For the 2003–04 SASS, a sample of public charter schools was included in the sample as part of the public school questionnaire.

Indicators 33, 34, and 35 use data from the SASS. Further information about the survey is available at

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