Base Year (wave 1)
The first year of data collection was the 2007–08 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS). Although SASS was administered to a sample of teachers across the U.S.A. only those teachers who were first-year teachers are included in the BTLS. SASS emphasized teacher demand and shortage, teacher and administrator characteristics, school programs, and general conditions in schools. SASS also collected data on many other topics, including teachers' perceptions of school climate and problems in their schools; teacher compensation; district hiring practices and basic characteristics of the student population.
First Follow-up (wave 2)
The second year of data collection was 2008–09 and was included in the Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS). The purpose of the TFS was to determine how many teachers remained at the same school, moved to another school or left the profession in the year following the SASS administration. The 2008–09 TFS was administered to a sample of teachers who completed the SASS in the previous year. The TFS used four questionnaires, two for teachers who began teaching in 2007 or 2008 (beginning teachers) and two for all other teachers. The two questionnaires that were administered to the teachers who began teaching in 2007 or 2008 serve as the second wave of data on beginning teachers. Of those two questionnaires, one was for teachers who left teaching since the previous SASS (Former Teachers) and the other for those who were teaching either in the same school as the previous year or in a different school (Current Teachers). The topics for the Current Teacher questionnaire included teaching status and assignments, ratings of various aspects of teaching, reasons for moving to a new school, information on having had a mentor teacher in the previous year, and earnings. The topics for the Former Teacher questionnaire included employment status, ratings of various aspects of teaching and their current jobs, information on decisions to leave teaching, whether they had applied for a teaching position, and information on having had a mentor teacher in the previous year.
Third, Fourth, and Fifth Follow-ups (waves 3, 4, and 5)
Waves 3, 4, and 5 are known as the Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Study (BTLS) and take on a life of their own separate from the Schools and Staffing Survey and the Teacher Follow-up Survey. The third wave of data collection covered the 2009–10 school year, the fourth covered the 2010–11 school year, and the fifth and final wave covers the 2011–12 school year.
The purpose of these waves is to collect data that will enable researchers to determine the attrition rate of teachers and the rate of reentry into the teaching profession, and to examine the characteristics of those who stay in the same school, move schools, leave the teaching profession, and return to the teaching profession. In addition, researchers can examine activities and occupations of those teachers who leave the teaching profession, and explore subsequent career patterns of teachers who remain in the profession.
As an internet-only questionnaire, the BTLS web instrument displays questions that are applicable to the respondentís teaching status. Current teachers are asked questions regarding teaching status and assignments, and their opinions of various aspects of teaching, reasons for moving to a new school, reasons for returning to teaching (if they left after the 2007–08 school year but returned for the 2009–10, 2010–11, or 2011-2012 school year), earnings, and information on having and serving as a mentor. The topics for the Former Teacher questionnaire included employment status, their opinions on various aspects of teaching and their current jobs, information on decisions to leave teaching, and whether they had applied for a new teaching position.