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Note 3: Other Surveys (2006)


The Census Bureau introduced the American Community Survey (ACS) in 1996. When fully implemented in 2005, it will provide a large monthly sample of demographic, socioeconomic, and housing data comparable in content to the Long Form of the Decennial Census. Aggregated over time, these data will serve as a replacement for the Long Form of the Decennial Census. The survey includes questions mandated by federal law, federal regulations, and court decisions.

Beginning in 2005, the survey has been mailed to approximately 250,000 addresses in the United States and Puerto Rico each month, or about 2.5 percent annually. A larger proportion of addresses in small governmental units (e.g., American Indian reservations, small counties, and towns) will receive the survey. The monthly sample size is designed to approximate the ratio used in Census 2000, requiring more intensive distribution in these areas.

National-level data from ACS are available starting with 2000. Under the current timetable, annual results will be available for areas with populations of 65,000 or more beginning in the summer of 2006, for areas with populations of 20,000 or more in the summer of 2008, and for all areas—down to the census tract level—by the summer of 2010. This schedule is based on the time it will take to collect data from a sample size large enough to produce accurate results for different size geographic units.

Indicator 7 uses data from the ACS for the years 2000–04. For further details on the survey, see


The Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Studies (B&B) are longitudinal studies of subsamples of bachelor’s degree recipients from the samples of students included in the 1992–93 and 1999–2000 National Postsecondary Student Aid Studies (NPSAS:93 and NPSAS:2000). NPSAS, described below, is a periodic, nationally representative cross-sectional study of all students in postsecondary education institutions in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The B&B subsamples include students who completed a bachelor’s degree between July 1 and June 30 of the 1992–93 and 2000–01 NPSAS years. The 1992–93 cohort was followed up in 1994, 1997, and 2003, and the 1999–2000 cohort was followed up in 2001.

The B&B data provide profiles of college graduates, including degree recipients who delayed entry or enrolled sporadically over time as well as those who enrolled in college immediately after completing high school. The first follow-ups (1994 and 2001) of each cohort include comprehensive data on the enrollment, attendance, and demographic characteristics of college graduates and provide a unique opportunity to understand graduates’ immediate transitions into work, graduate school, or other endeavors. The 2003 follow-up of the 1992–93 bachelor’s degree recipients provides information on their advanced degree participation, labor force experiences, and family formation over a 10-year period.

Estimates from both B&B studies are based on interviews with approximately 10,000 bachelor’s degree recipients. The unweighted response rate for the B&B:93/94 interviews was 92 percent. The weighted overall response rate for the B&B:2000/01 interviews was 74 percent, reflecting an institution response rate of 90 percent and a student response rate of 82 percent. Because the B&B:2000/01 study includes a subsample of NPSAS:2000 nonrespondents, the overall study response rate is the product of the NPSAS:2000 institution-level response rate and the B&B:2000/01 student-level response rate. The Internet-based 2003 survey could be self-administered or completed over the telephone with a trained interviewer. The weighted overall response rate for the B&B:93/03 interview was 74 percent, reflecting a base-year institution response rate of 88 percent and a 2003 follow-up student response rate of 83 percent.

For further information about the B&B methodology studies, see NCES 96-149, NCES 2003-156, NCES 2006-166, and the B&B website at

Data from B&B:93/94 and 2000/01 are used in indicator 37, and data from B&B:93/03 are used in indicator 32.

College Entrance Examination (CEE) Scores

For 1992–93 graduates, SAT mathematics and verbal scores and ACT composite scores were taken from one of three sources in the following order of preference: (1) Educational Testing Service (ETS) or ACT Inc., which administer the tests; (2) the institution the student attended; or (3) the student. For 1999–2000 graduates, the student was not used as a source. ACT composite scores were converted to an estimate of the SAT combined score. Indicator 37 uses college entrance examination (CEE) score data.

Grade Point Averages

Each student’s reported cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) was standardized to a 4.00 scale. For 1992–93 graduates, the GPA was student-reported. For 2000–01 graduates, the institution was the primary source; if the institution did not report this information, the student-reported GPA was used. Indicator 37 uses GPA data.

Undergraduate Field of Study

Data on the major field of study for the bachelor’s degree, used in indicator 37, was collapsed as follows:

Undergraduate Field of Study

Data on the major field of study for the bachelor’s degree, used in indicator 32, was collapsed as follows:


The NCES Common Core of Data (CCD), the Department of Education’s primary database on public elementary and secondary education in the United States, is a comprehensive annual, national statistical database of information concerning all public elementary and secondary schools (approximately 91,000) and school districts (approximately 16,000). The CCD consists of five surveys that state education departments complete annually from their administrative records. The database includes a general description of schools and school districts; data on students and staff, including demographics; and fiscal data, including revenues and current expenditures.

Indicators 3, 28, 35, 40, 41, 42, and 44 use data from the CCD. Further information about the database is available at


The Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002) is the fourth major national longitudinal survey of high school students conducted by NCES. Three similar previous surveys were the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 (NLS:72), the High School and Beyond Longitudinal Study of 1980 (HS&B:80), and the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88). Like its predecessors, ELS:2002 is designed to provide information to researchers, policymakers, and the public about high school students’ experiences and activities, and to track subsequent changes in these young people’s lives after they leave high school and enroll in college and subsequently enter the workforce or enter the workforce immediately after high school.

ELS:2002 sampled and collected data from 10th-graders in spring 2002 (the base year), along with data from their English and mathematics teachers, their school’s librarian and principal, and one parent for each student. The base-year data include 10th-graders’ scores on cognitive tests in reading and mathematics. About 750 schools were selected (in both the public and private sectors); about 15,000 students in these schools completed base-year surveys, along with about 13,000 of their parents, 7,000 of their teachers, 700 principals, and 700 librarians.

The first follow-up collected data from cohort members 2 years later when most of them were 12th-graders in the spring 2004. The sample of 12th-graders was also augmented with students who were not sophomores in 2002 (or not in the country) to provide a nationally representative sample of 12th-graders. Special questionnaires were administered to the sophomore cohort members who were no longer in school because they had dropped out or graduated early. A mathematics test was administered to the 12th-graders and their high school transcripts were collected from the schools.

ELS:2002 has collected information on students’ experiences while in high school (including their coursetaking, achievement, extracurricular activities, social lives, employment, and risk-taking behaviors); students’ aspirations, life goals, attitudes, and values; and the influence of family members, friends, teachers, and other people in their lives.

The second follow-up is being administered in the spring of 2006, when many of the 12th-graders are enrolled in college and others have entered the workforce. Data will be collected on the colleges that students applied to, the financial aid offers they received, the colleges they attended, and the financial aid they received while in college.

A third follow-up is tentatively scheduled for the spring of 2010 when many of the sample members who attend college will have graduated.

Following the same cohort of students over time allows data users to monitor changes in students’ lives, including their progress through high school, participation in postsecondary education (entry, persistence, achievement, and attainment), early experiences in the labor market, family formation, and civic participation. In addition, by combining data about students’ school programs, coursetaking experiences, and cognitive outcomes with information from teachers and principals, the ELS:2002 data support investigation of numerous educational policy issues.

Indicators 23 and 27 use data from the ELS:2002. For further details on the survey, see


The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is the core program that NCES uses for collecting data on postsecondary education. (Before IPEDS some of the same information was collected by the Higher Education General Information Survey [HEGIS].) Indicators 9, 10, and 30 use data from HEGIS. IPEDS is a single, comprehensive system that encompasses all identified institutions whose primary purpose is to provide postsecondary education.

IPEDS consists of institution-level data that can be used to describe trends in postsecondary education at the institution, state, and/or national levels. For example, researchers can use IPEDS to analyze information on (1) enrollments of undergraduates, first-time freshmen, and graduate and first-professional students by race/ethnicity and sex; (2) institutional revenue and expenditure patterns by source of income and type of expense; (3) salaries of full-time instructional faculty by academic rank and tenure status; (4) completions (awards) by type of program, level of award, race/ethnicity, and sex; (5) characteristics of postsecondary institutions, including tuition, room and board charges, calendar systems, and so on; (6) status of postsecondary vocational education programs; and (7) other issues of interest.

Data are collected from approximately 9,900 postsecondary institutions including baccalaureate or higher degree-granting institutions, 2-year award institutions, and less-than-2-year institutions (i.e., institutions whose awards usually result in terminal occupational awards or are creditable toward a formal 2-year or higher award). Each of these three categories is further disaggregated by control (public, private not-for-profit, and private for-profit), resulting in nine institutional categories or sectors.

The completion of all IPEDS surveys is mandatory for all institutions that participate or are applicants for participation in any federal financial assistance program authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

Indicators 9, 10, 30, and 45 use data from the IPEDS. The institutional categories used in the surveys are described in supplemental note 9. Further information about IPEDS is available at


The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), conducted by NCES in 2003, and its earlier sister survey, the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS), assess the literacy of adults age 16 or older living in households or prisons. Respondents were asked to demonstrate that they understood the meaning of information found in texts they were asked to read.

The assessment defines literacy as “using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.” Results are reported on three literacy scales:

Within each of these three literacy scales, respondents were grouped based upon their achievement level. Below basic indicates no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills; basic indicates skills necessary to perform simple and everyday literacy activities; intermediate indicates skills necessary to perform moderately challenging literacy activities; and proficient indicates skills necessary to perform more complex and challenging literacy activities.

To compare results between 1992 and 2003, the 1992 results were rescaled using the criteria and methods established for the 2003 assessment.

Indicator 19 uses information from NAAL and NALS, while indicator 20 uses information from NAAL only. Further information about NAAL can be found at


The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) is the nation’s primary source of information on criminal victimization. Initiated in 1972 and redesigned in 1992, the NCVS annually collects detailed information on the frequency and nature of the crimes of rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated and simple assault, theft, household burglary, and motor vehicle theft experienced by Americans and their households each year. The survey measures crimes reported as well as those not reported to police. The NCVS sample consists of about 53,000 households. U.S. Census Bureau personnel interview all household members age 12 or older within each sampled household to determine whether they had been victimized by the measured crimes during the 6 months preceding the interview. About 75,235 persons age 12 or older are interviewed each 6 months. Households remain in the sample for 3 years and are interviewed seven times at 6-month intervals. The first of these seven household interviews is used only to bound future interviews by establishing a timeframe in order to avoid duplication of crimes reported in the six subsequent interviews. After their seventh interview, households are replaced by new sample households. Data are obtained on the frequency, characteristics, and consequences of criminal victimization in the United States. The survey enables the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) to estimate the likelihood of victimization for the population as a whole as well as for segments of the population such as women, the elderly, members of various racial groups, city dwellers, or other groups. The NCVS provides the largest national forum for victims to describe the impact of crime and the characteristics of violent offenders.

Indicator 39 uses data from NCVS. Further information about the survey is available at


The National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES), conducted in 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2005, collects data on educational issues that cannot be addressed by school-level data. Each survey collects data from households on at least two topics, such as adult education, early childhood program participation, parental involvement in education, and before- and afterschool activities.

NHES surveys the civilian, noninstitutionalized U.S. population in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Interviews are conducted using computer-assisted telephone interviewing. Data are collected from adults and occasionally from older children (grades 6–12). Whether older or younger children are sampled, data about them are collected from the parent or guardian who is most knowledgeable.

Although NHES is conducted primarily in English, provisions are made to interview persons who speak only Spanish. Questionnaires are translated into Spanish, and bilingual interviewers, who are trained to complete the interview in either English or Spanish, are employed. NHES only conducts interviews in English and Spanish, so if there is no respondent in the household who can speak either language, then the interview is not completed.

Indicators 2, 11, 33, 34, 36, and 38 use data from the NHES. Further information about the program is available at


The National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) is based on a nationally representative sample of all students in postsecondary education institutions, including undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional students. For NPSAS:04, information was obtained from approximately 80,000 undergraduates and 11,000 graduate or first-professional students from about 1,400 postsecondary institutions. These students represented nearly 19 million undergraduate students, 3 million graduate students, and 300,000 first-professional students who were enrolled at some time between July 1, 2003 and June 30, 2004.

NPSAS is a comprehensive nationwide study designed to determine how students and their families pay for postsecondary education and to describe some demographic and other characteristics of those enrolled. Students attending all types and levels of institutions are represented, including public and private not-for-profit and for-profit institutions and less-than-2-year institutions, community colleges, and 4-year colleges and universities.

To be eligible for inclusion in the institutional sample, an institution must have satisfied the following conditions: (1) offers an education program designed for persons who have completed secondary education; (2) offers an academic, occupational, or vocational program of study lasting 3 months or longer; (3) offers access to the general public; (4) offers more than just correspondence courses; and (5) is located in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Part-time and full-time students enrolled in academic or vocational courses or programs at these institutions, and not concurrently enrolled in a high school completion program, are eligible for inclusion in NPSAS. The first NPSAS, conducted in 1986–87, sampled students enrolled in fall 1986. Since the 1989–90 NPSAS, students enrolled at any time during the year have been eligible for inclusion in the survey. This design change provides the opportunity to collect data necessary to estimate full-year financial aid awards.

Unless otherwise specified, all estimates in The Condition of Education using data from the NPSAS include students in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Each NPSAS survey provides information on the cost of postsecondary education, the distribution of financial aid, and the characteristics of both aided and nonaided students and their families. Following each survey, NCES publishes three major reports: Student Financing of Undergraduate Education, Student Financing of Graduate and First-Professional Education, and Profile of Undergraduates in U.S Postsecondary Education Institutions (all forthcoming; see NCES 2006-184, 2006-185, 2006-186).

Indicators 49 and 50 use data from NPSAS. Further information about the survey is available at


Indicators 46 and 47 use data collected for the National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF), which NCES sponsors. NSOPF:04, which collected data in 2003–04, is the fourth data collection of postsecondary faculty and instructional staff at degree-granting institutions, following administrations of NSOPF in 1987–88, 1992–93, and 1998–99. NSOPF:04 covers a wide range of topics pertaining to faculty and instructional staff. The questionnaire administered to faculty and instructional staff focused on the fall 2003 term and included items relating to the nature of employment, academic and professional background, instructional responsibilities and workload, scholarly activities, job satisfaction and opinions, compensation, and sociodemographic characteristics.

Indicator 46 uses data from NSOPF. Further information about NSOPF is available at


The Private School Universe Survey (PSS) was established in 1988 to ensure that private school data dating back to 1890 would be collected on a more regular basis. With the help of the Census Bureau, the PSS is conducted biennially to provide the total number of private schools, students, and teachers, and to build a universe of private schools in the 50 states and the District of Columbia to serve as a sampling frame of private schools for NCES sample surveys.

In the most recent PSS data collection, conducted in 2003–04, the survey was sent to 31,848 qualified private schools, and it had a response rate of 94.6 percent.

Indicator 4 uses data from the PSS. Further information on the surveys is available at