GEMEnA's fourth strand of work is to support NCES in the development of a new household study on education, training, and credentials for work. This strand of work is proceeding in two stages. First, NCES is conducting a response rate study to evaluate the feasibility of using a mail-out methodology for a household survey on education, training, and credentials for work. Second, based on preliminary positive findings from the response rate study, NCES is testing the feasibility of administering this new survey on education, training, and credentials for work as part of our on-going National Household Education Surveys (NHES) program.
Response Rate Study. Due to growing problems reaching survey respondents by telephone, NCES has recently shifted its household data collection program from a telephone-based to a mail-based collection. The mail-based methodology has been found to yield acceptable response rates for surveys asking about children's education, but is untested for surveys asking adults about their own education and training. Thus, the first stage in this strand is to determine whether this methodology is feasible for such a survey. For this purpose, GEMEnA has developed the National Adult Training and Education Survey (NATES) questionnaire. The NATES collects in-depth information on credentials related to work—including formal educational attainment, industry-recognized certifications, occupational licenses, and formal apprenticeships—based in part on the developmental work in strands 1 and 2. It also collects detailed information about the education and training in which adults participate to acquire the skills and knowledge needed for jobs, based on the developmental work in strand 3. Finally, the NATES includes a set of employment and demographic items derived in part from strand 1-3 work and in part from existing Census Bureau data collections. Because the question-development work in stands 1-3 has not been completed, this initial version of the NATES instrument includes many test and placeholder questions, but the overall instrument is designed to approximate the structure, content, and length expected for a final household survey on adults' education, training, and credentials for work.
The NATES pilot test of the mail-out methodology will examine response rates at both the unit and item level and includes a nonresponse bias study based on in-person interviews with a sample of nonrespondents. On behalf of NCES, the Census Bureau is conducting the data collection, surveying a sample of adults ages 16 to 65 in approximately 10,000 households.
The schedule for the NATES response rate study is:
|Feb. 2012 – Dec. 2012|
|Main data collection||Jan. 2013 – May 2013|
|Nonresponse follow-up||May 2013 – Aug. 2013|
|Methodology report||Nov. 2013|
NATES-NHES Feasibility Study. The NCES National Household Education Surveys (NHES) program originally used a random-digit-dialing (RDD) telephone administration, and included a survey on adult education. In recent years, however, the RDD methodology had produced low response rates, particularly for the adult education survey. As a result, the NHES program has redesigned many of its surveys for a mail-out methodology. The adult education survey was not part of this NHES redesign, which presents the opportunity to implement NATES as the new “adult education” component of the NHES program. Merging these efforts involves changes to the NHES household screener instruments, sampling design, and mail-out procedures. To test the feasibility of this merger, a new NATES instrument will be administered as part of a larger NHES feasibility study in early 2014. Prior to that administration, we are redesigning the NATES instrument based on findings from work in Strands 2 and 3 (i.e., certificate and participation focus groups and cognitive interviews, and the NATES response rate study).
The schedule for the NATES-NHES feasibility study is:
|Cognitive testing and
analysis of original NATES
|May – August 2013|
|Questionnaire development||September – December 2013|
|Main data collection||January – July 2014|
|Data processing||August – December 2014|
If the NATES-NHES merger proves successful, NCES anticipates a full-scale administration of NATES in 2015, with an expected public data release in 2016.