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Statistical Software

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Watch a module: Using Software to Analyze NAEP Data.

Analyzing the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) restricted-use datasets requires special statistical methods due to their scope and complexity. The following software packages can assist you in conducting analyses:

  • EdSurvey R Package,
  • AM Statistical Software, and
  • the NAEP Data Toolkit.

Restricted-Use Data

Restricted-use micro-level data can be obtained on CD-ROM for approved purposes of secondary analysis, provided the user and organization have been granted a license.

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EdSurvey R Package

EdSurvey is a R statistical package tailored to the processing and analysis of NCES large-scale education data with appropriate procedures. The released EdSurvey Version 2.0 is designed for the analysis of national and international education data from the NCES, including the following data sources:

  • National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
  • Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and TIMSS Advanced
  • Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS)
  • International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS)
  • International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS)
  • Civic Education Study (CivEd)
  • Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)
  • Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)
  • Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS)

EdSurvey gives users the ability to process and analyze these data efficiently, taking into account their complex sample survey design and the use of plausible values.

The key functions of EdSurvey Version 2.0 include:

  • data processing, including downloading public available data and reading data in R;
  • data manipulation, including subsetting and merging data and renaming and recoding variables;
  • cross-tabulation, including unweighted and weighted totals, conditional means, and the percentage of respondents in a category (conditional on an ancillary categorical variable or on the interactions of an arbitrary number of categorical variables), estimation of scale score means based on plausible values;
  • percentile that calculates the percentiles of a numeric variable or plausible values;
  • analysis of achievement levels and benchmarks for NAEP and international assessment data;
  • correlations, including Pearson, Spearman, polyserial, polychoric, and correlation between plausible values, with or without weights applied;
  • linear regression with or without plausible values as the dependent variable;
  • logistic regression that allows either a discrete variable or dichotomized plausible values as the dependent variable; and
  • gap analysis that compares the average, percentile, achievement level, or percentage of survey responses between two groups that potentially share members.

AM Statistical Software

AM is a statistical software package for analyzing data from complex samples, especially large-scale assessments such as NAEP, and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Studies (TIMSS). AM was developed by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) with funding, in part, from NCES. Learn more about AM software and download free from the AM website.

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NAEP Data Toolkit

The NAEP Data Toolkit contains data analysis tools for restricted-use data. One of the tools within the toolkit is NAEPEX, a data extraction program for choosing variables, extracting data, and generating SPSS control statements. The other tools are cross-tabulation and regression analysis modules that operate in stand-along mode and require SPSS system files as input. These modules perform optimally for small and medium size datasets (up to 30,000 cases), but are not recommended for use on the large NAEP data files that have been available since 2002. 

To use the NAEP Data Toolkit,

  • request a disc from NCES, 
  • make a separate request to obtain a license to access restricted-use data, and 
  • read the Toolkit procedures.


Last updated 28 November 2018 (DS)