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Title:  National Institute of Statistical Sciences Configuration and Data Integration Technical Panel: Final Report
Description: NCES asked the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) to convene a technical panel of survey and policy experts to examine potential strategies for configuration and data integration among successive national longitudinal education surveys. In particular the technical panel was asked to address two related issues: how could NCES configure the timing of its longitudinal studies (e.g., Early Childhood Longitudinal Study [ECLS], Education Longitudinal Study [ELS], and High School Longitudinal Study [HSLS]) in a maximally efficient and informative manner. The main, but not sole, focus was at the primary and secondary levels; and what could NCES do to support data integration for statistical and policy analyses that cross breakpoints between longitudinal studies. The NISS technical panel delivered its report to NCES in 2009. The principle recommendations included in the report are: 1. The technical panel recommended that NCES should configure K-12 studies as a series of three studies: (i) a K-5 study, followed immediately by (ii) a 6-8 study, followed immediately by (iii) a 9-12 study. One round of such studies, ignoring postsecondary follow-up to the 9-12 study, requires 13 years to complete. 2. The technical panel also recommended that budget permitting; NCES should initiate a new round of K-12 studies every 10 years. This can be done in a way that minimizes the number of years in which multiple major assessments occur. The panel found that there is no universal strategy by means of which NCES can institutionalize data integration across studies. One strategy was examined in detail: continuation of students from one study to the next. Based on experiments conducted by NISS the technical panel found that: 3. the case for continuation on the basis that it supports cross-study statistical inference is weak. Use of high-quality retrospective data that are either currently available or are likely to be available in the future can accomplish nearly as much at lower cost. 4. Continuation is problematic in at least two other senses: first, principled methods for constructing weights may not exist and, second, no matter how much NCES might advise to the contrary, researchers are likely to attempt what is likely to be invalid or uninformative inference on the basis of continuation cases alone. 5. The technical panel urged that, as an alternative means of addressing specific issues that cross studies, NCES consider the expense and benefit of small, targeted studies that target specific components of studentís trajectories.
Online Availability:
Cover Date: March 2011
Web Release: March 28, 2011
Publication #: NCES 2011607
Center/Program: NCES
Type of Product: Technical/Methodological Report
Survey/Program Areas: Statistical Standards and Data Confidentiality Staff (SSDCS)
Questions: For questions about the content of this Technical/Methodological Report, please contact:
Andrew White.