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A Chat With the NCES Webmaster

Chat Host, Jerry Malitz, NCES webmaster Hi, and welcome to today's StatChat. I'm sure that you have many questions about the NCES website or other web-related issues, so let's get right to them...

Serene from Golden asked:
Involving, Minnosta and Colorado; what do the education statistics look like? I heard that Minn. spends a good portion of money on their education and that Colorado is like the lowest when it comes to money spent on eduaction.
Jerry Malitz: Information about all of the states in regard to public education is available in a publication called State Profiles of Education. It can be found at:
In addition, more recent info can be found in "Overview of Public Elementary and Secondary Schools and Districts: School Year 1998-1999" which is located at: Hope this helps Serene.

Brazellia from Atlanta, Georgia asked:
Our non profit organization is developing a web based career exploration program for teens. We are using the Dept of Labor's O*Net database of career profiles. We need a college/tech/ university database for Club members to research different institutions. Is this electronic file available through NCES and how can I register or access it?
Jerry Malitz: NCES maintains a website called "College Navigator" this site is at:
From this site you can get information on every postsecondary institution in the country. You can make your search criteria as broad or as specific as you wish. The results include enrollment information, degrees, financial aid info and many other items.

John from Liberty, MO asked:
When will the 98 IPEDS be available for download from your site? I am speaking primarily of the financial data.
Jerry Malitz: The IPEDS (data on postsecondary institutions) data is available, and is continuously being updated, by going to our IPEDS Peer Analysis system at:
From this site you can right now get Finance data for FY98 for public institutions. The entire file will be available in February 2001.

Nada from Arlington, VA asked:
It seems that more and more NCES reports are appearing in HTML, and are consequently a lot easier to browse and read on screen than the PDF versions. Can you list the pros and cons of using HTML in addition to PDF? Does it require more time, storage space, etc., to do the friendlier HTML version? Does HTML work better for certain types of reports? Is it easier to search through an entire report if it's in PDF? The question I'm really trying to ask is: Why wouldn't we want to do all our reports in HTML, and is there a reason also to produce them in PDF? Thank you, Jerry!
Jerry Malitz: Wow! That is a mouthful, but a great question. There are many reasons to put publications on a website in a PDF version. Primarily, it gives you an exact replica of the print version and the adobe software is free to download. We also put many of our publications up in an html version to allow for searching and linking throughout. We do this for many of our large reports that contain numerous tables and figures. It would be great to get everything on our website in both formats and we are doing more and more html versions.

Betsy from Portland, Oregon asked:
What's the fastest method, starting with the home page of your site, to find the most recent stats, no matter what the user is seeking? Today it may be average teacher salaries by state, next week it may be pupil-teacher ratio in districts over 100,000, the next week it might percentage of low-income students who go to college. For a person who doesn't know off-hand where those reside in your site, what's the best approach to getting the freshest data... fast?
Jerry Malitz: I'd recommend a couple of ways to get the latest data Betsy. From our homepage select the menu item called "Quick Tables and Figures" this will take you to: From here you can conduct searches on all tables and figures published by NCES in our "Quarterly". The "Quarterly" publishes the most recent data we have. Additionally, by going to: you can conduct searches on all of the most recent "Did You Knows" and "Inside the Stats" that appear on our homepage daily.

Dean Pike from Greenbelt, Maryland asked:
Hi Jerry, Can you tell me if the NCES Home Page has a hyperlink to the National Library of Education/ERIC Clearinghouse Program?
Jerry Malitz: Dean, links to ERIC are not located on our homepage but they are located on our Electronic Catalog page at: This page actually gets as much traffic as our homepage since it serves as the gateway for all NCES products.

Valerie from Blacksburg Virginia asked:
I sometimes have trouble finding a specific publication that I am looking for on the web. What's the best way to do this?
Jerry Malitz: I'll use the last question as a segue into this one. The "Electronic Catalog" which can be found at:, is where you should go to find out anything about all NCES publications and products. From this site you can conduct simple keyword searches of titles, abstracts, or author name if you happen to know it. You can get much more specific than that of course so give it a try. There are also topic categories to assist you in finding what you want.

Stu from Bristol, PA asked:
I have been trying to locate average college board scores (SAT/ACT) for both high Schools and school districts. Is there any resource at the NCES for these stats?
Jerry Malitz: Stu, NCES does not collect SAT scores but we do have information on SAT's in our Digest of Education Statistics. Specifically, we have a table in our most recent edition: that breaks down SAT scores by state over the last 10 years. This specific table can be found at:

Alicia from Arlington, VA asked:
I'm examining salary trends for superintendents, principals, teachers, and teacher aids and want to compare their salaries to salaries of professionals in comparable positions. Any ideas about how can I find comparable positions?
Jerry Malitz: NCES collects salary information for teachers and principals in our Schools and Staffing Survey We last have data from this survey for 1993-94. It was also conducted in 1999-2000 and this data will become available in 2001. In addition, the Digest of Education Statistics has tables 79 and 80. These present data that was collected from teacher associations. they can be found at:

Richard from Portland, OR (Northwest Regional Educational Lab) asked:
The Common Core of Data public school files that NCES makes available for download are a great resource. I especially appreciate that they are now available in SAS format instead of just the fixed width text. Could they also be posted as dBase files which would make it even easier to import into Access or SPSS?
Jerry Malitz: Thanks for the kudos Richard. We are always looking for new ways to make our data files available. We have chosen to make all of our files available in ASCII as the lowest common denominator and now we also have made the CCD (public elementary/secondary) files available in SAS because of many requests. If you need more assistance contact the CCD staff. They can be found through our Staff Directory at: Select CCD from within the Survey Area menu item.

william from canonsburg,Pa asked:
What is the total number of public schools(K-12) and what is the total number of private schools(K-12)in the United States as of your last recorded data.
Jerry Malitz: This is something that we are frequently asked so I happen to have these numbers right at my fingertips. Public is 89,508 and private is 27,402. You can find more breakdowns in Digest table #5 at:

Jim from Starkville, Mississippi asked:
Do you have data on drop outs or the drop out rate for high schools across the country from 1965 to the present?
Jerry Malitz: Unfortunately, Jim, our data does not go back that far be we do go into the 70's (that's 1970's not 1870's). Our most recent Dropout report can be found at:

Carole from New York, NY asked:
I work in private school admissions in New York City. We seem to be having an incredible increase in the number of applications for Kindergarten. What are the statistical projections for Kindergarten-age children for the next few years? Many thanks.
Jerry Malitz: Carole, we have projections for the population of 3-5 year-olds up to 2010. These projections can be found in "Projection of Education Statistics to 2010" in figure 2. This report will be on the web in html next week. Remember no peeking until next week.

Paul from Crofton MD asked:
Jerry, Can you give a brief technical description of the NCES website such as the Web interface tools, background database tools, and hosting hardware?
Jerry Malitz: Ahh, a techie. Well Paul very briefly I can tell you that we are an NT shop and we use a SQL database server.

Jonni Lewis from Portland, Oregon asked:
I would like to find which states, if any, require any pre-service course work for Elementary Education Teacher Licensure, related to teaching ESL students in mainstream elementary classrooms?
Jerry Malitz: Jonni, well we don't collect this type of data but I can point to a couple of locations that should be able to provide you with some help. First you might want to try individual state agenices. We have a complete listing and links to all of their websites at: Also you might want to try the Council of Chief State School Officers at:

rachael traub from massachusetts asked:
I am the webmaster for the mass. DOE what is the software you are using for this chat?
Jerry Malitz: Rachael, we developed this software in-house. It is a simple ASP application.

David from Ann Arbor, MI asked:
I am trying to get numbers over time for number of for-profit schools nationally, and state by state. Any such time series available? Any publications?
Jerry Malitz: David, I assume you are talking about postsecondary institutions, if so, you can find this info through the IPEDS site at: by looking at their Institutional Characteristics file. These files go back about 10 years so try them out.

Gail from Clemson, S.C. asked:
I'm amazed at the overwhelming number of (what appear to be) non-significant results in the statistical summary tables of the NAEP Arts '97 8th Grade Report Card CD. For example, some typically powerful variables (e.g., Table 7.7 Position of 8th Grade Music Teacher) seem to have no effect at all on students' Performance or Responding Scale Scores. (a) Has anyone provided an explanation for this, other than inadequate sample size? (b) Is there a plan to restructure the 2007 Arts Assessment to make more accurate assessments of students' arts performance? (By the way, I am continually impressed at the innovative quality of the '97 Arts Assessment!)
Jerry Malitz: Gail, It's important to point out that, in all NAEP assessments, any one variable is usually not that powerful. One would need to do further analysis, controlling for such variables as how much music students have taken, or crossing data about who teaches music with how often music is taught. This is especially true because the music sample was a random national sample, including many students with very little music background. Also true in other NAEP assessments with standard sample sizes, the further the data gets from the student, that is, the more results are based on teachers of students taking the assessment rather than data collected directly from students themselves, the less powerful the statistical relationships are.
As for your other question, there are no set plans for how the 2007 assessment will be restructured. These will undoubtedly be addressed closer to the date of the future arts assessment.

Steve from Madison, WI asked:
What are your top 3 movies of all time? What's your prediction for the World Series? Speaking of statistics, how did your rotisserie league team do this year?
Jerry Malitz: Steve, Finally something I can answer that is only an opinion. Godfather I and Godfather II are Numbers 1 and 2. I'll pass on number 3. The Mets in 6. A rotisserie fan? Well I happened to finish in first place. It was strictly an exercise in statistics. After all we are a statistical agency. Thanks for asking.

So many questions, so little time. I'm sorry I couldn't get to more of them, so save them for next month's chat. I hope you've learned some new tricks, I know I've gotten many new ideas myself. Until next time!

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