2008-09 TFS Methods and Procedures

Questionnaire Design

The Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS) consists of four questionnaires. Two are for respondents who were first-year public school teachers in the 2007-08 SASS and two are for the remainder of the sample. Within those two groups, there is one questionnaire for current teachers and one for former teachers. The TFS was designed to measure attrition rates and to compare teachers who left the teaching profession, teachers who moved to another school, and those who stayed in the same school as the previous year. TFS also measures the current economic activities of leavers, obtains data on educational activities and future plans for all groups, and collects data on attitudes about the teaching profession and job satisfaction.

Sampling Frames

The TFS sampling frame consists of all eligible teachers who responded to the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) Teacher Survey in the previous year.

Sample Design

The primary sample design objective for the TFS was to support comparative analyses of stayers, movers and leavers for teachers classified by sector (public and private), grade level taught (elementary and secondary), minority status, and years in teaching (new and experienced). In order to achieve the design objective, the sample of SASS respondents was grouped into 216 strata based on TFS status (stayer, mover, leaver, unknown status), sector (traditional public, public charter, private), grade level taught (elementary, middle, and high school), minority status, and years in teaching (1 year, 2-3 years, 4 or more years).

Data Collection

In February 2008, a link to the online instrument was sent to the sampled teachers' e-mail addresses. In preparation in the previous year for the mailing, the SASS Teacher Questionnaire asked for the teacher's home address, e-mail address, and contact information for two people who would know the whereabouts of the teacher. For teachers who did not provide a valid e-mail address on the 2007-08 SASS, questionnaires were sent to both their home and e-mail addresses. Participants were encouraged to use the online instrument but could request a paper questionnaire at any time. While the online instrument allowed teachers to switch between current and former status, teachers who were sent paper questionnaires that were inappropriate for their status were asked to return them and the correct versions of the questionnaire were resent. For respondents who received paper questionnaires, the TFS-1 determined whether they would be sent a former or current teacher questionnaire. The TFS-1, which was mailed out in September of 2008, asked principals to indicate the current occupational status of all teachers in the school that were sampled for SASS.

Data Editing

Data processing for the TFS was a multi-stage procedure. Completed interviews were submitted to a series of computer edits consisting of range checks that identify outlying values, consistency edits that check for consistency in responses to specified related items, blanking edits that delete responses that are inappropriate for given skip patterns, and logic edits that use information from the SASS Teacher Questionnaire to inform missing survey items.


Following data editing, missing values were imputed using several imputation methodologies, such as hot deck imputation and subsample ratio imputation methods.


In the weighting procedure, the base weight was used as the starting point. Next, a weighting adjustment was applied to reflect the impact of the SASS teacher weighting procedure. Next, a nonresponse adjustment factor was calculated and applied, and finally a ratio adjustment factor was calculated and applied to the sample to adjust sample totals to frame totals in order to reduce sampling variability. The final weight for TFS is a product of these factors.

Response Rates

Weighted response rates are defined as the number of in-scope interviews divided by the number of in-scope sample cases, using the base weight (initial basic weight multiplied by the sampling adjustment factor) of the record. All response rates are published in the forthcoming 2008–09 First Look release report and in the 2008–09 Documentation for the Teacher Follow-up Survey.

Manuals and Technical Reports

NCES will publish a forthcoming First Look release report and the 2008–09 Documentation for the Teacher Follow-up Survey with release of the survey data.