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The NAEP Database → NAEP Database Products → Secondary-Use Data Files and Data Companion

NAEP Technical DocumentationSecondary-Use Data Files and Data Companion

This product is designed to enable any researcher with an interest in the NAEP database to perform secondary analysis on the same data as those used at ETS. For NAEP assessments prior to 1990, a "public-use" version of the NAEP data files was distributed to secondary users. Beginning with the 1990 assessment, in order to comply with federal confidentiality laws, only a "restricted-use" version of NAEP data files are distributed for secondary use. These are loaned to secondary users under a licensure procedure designed to assure confidentiality of school identity and individual data. (Read more about NCES's restricted-use data access policies and procedures at

The data, documentation, and supporting files are distributed on CD-ROM media. The CD-ROM is organized into directories (or folders) that each contain files of a single type. The files are named according to the DOS naming convention of an eight-character file name and a three-character file extension separated by a period. A separate CD-ROM is produced for each subject area in the assessment year. The file names identify individual samples and are consistent across file types in the different folders. The following list of directory names includes a description of the type, format, and/or use of their constituent files:

Contents of the Secondary-Use Data CD-ROM

CATALOG: The CATALOG directory contains the machine-readable catalog files. These files contain sufficient control and descriptive information to permit the user who does not have either SAS, SPSS, or STATA to set up and perform data analysis.

CODEBOOKS: The DATA CODEBOOK directory contains the printable documentation for each cohort in the assessment. The files include the data file layouts and the data codebooks in portable document file (PDF) format that can be browsed, excerpted, and printed on a variety of platforms using the Adobe Acrobat Reader.

COMPANION: The COMPANION directory contains the Data Companion in PDF format providing documentation including user information and background for the specific NAEP assessment.

DATA: The DATA directory contains the response data file, one for each cohort assessed.

SAS: The SAS directory contains control statement files for statistical packages that will generate a SAS system file.

SELECT: The SELECT directory contains the subdirectory PARMS that contains the control files used by the program NAEPEX, which is part of the NAEP Data ToolKit. These files are specific to the program and have no informational value to the user.

SPSS: The SPSS directory contains control statement files for statistical packages that will generate a SPSS system file.

 STATA:  Beginning in 2003, the STATA directory has been included on the CD-ROMs and contains control statement files for statistical packages that will generate a STATA system file.

Last updated 05 December 2008 (RF)

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