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Initial Results From the 2005 NHES Early Childhood Program Participation Survey

NCES 2006-075
May 2006

Appendix A: Survey Methodology and Data Reliability

The National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) is a set of telephone surveys sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). NHES surveys have focused on early childhood program participation in 1991, 1995, 1999, 2001, and 2005. This report presents data from the Early Childhood Program Participation (ECPP) Survey of the 2005 NHES. ECPP-NHES:2005 data collection was conducted by Westat and took place from January 3 through April 24, 2005. This section provides a brief description of the study methodology.

The NHES:2005 sample was selected using random-digit-dial (RDD) methods, and the data were collected using computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) technology. The first stage of sampling in NHES:2005 was the selection of a sample of telephone numbers, with telephone numbers in areas with high percentages of Black and Hispanic residents sampled at higher rates than those in areas with low percentages of Black and Hispanic residents, and telephone numbers that could be matched to mailing addresses sampled at a higher rate than those that could not be matched to addresses. NHES:2005 included three topical surveys: ECPP, the After-School Programs and Activities (ASPA) Survey, and the Adult Education (AE) Survey. In order to limit respondent burden, a within-household sampling scheme was developed to control the number of persons sampled for topical interviews in each household. Different probabilities were used to sample children depending on the characteristics of the telephone number and the number of eligible children in the household, and in some households more than one child was selected. The unequal selection probabilities and the clustering effect of sampling more than one child in some households were accounted for in the survey estimation procedures. The ECPP sample is nationally representative of all noninstitutionalized children in the 50 states and the District of Columbia from birth through age 6 and not yet attending kindergarten or primary school.

The respondent to the ECPP interview was the parent or guardian in the household who knew the most about the child's care and education. In the ECPP interview, respondents were routed to either the infant/toddler path (children newborn through 2 years of age) or the preschool path (children 3 through 6 years of age and not yet attending kindergarten or primary school). Regardless of age/grade path, the respondent was asked basic demographic questions about the child, as well as questions about the child's health and disability status, parent/guardian characteristics, home activities, and household characteristics. The infant/toddler path included questions about the child's participation in early childhood care and programs (relative care, nonrelative care, and center-based programs including Early Head Start), factors in parental choice of care, and for 2-year-olds, literacy-related skills and activities. The preschool path included questions about school participation, participation in early childhood care and programs (relative care, nonrelative care, and center-based programs, including Head Start), factors in parental choice of arrangement, and literacy-related skills and activities. Multiple attempts were made to complete interviews with respondents not available at the time of selection. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish. The total number of completed ECPP interviews was 7,209, representing a weighted total of 20,690,936 children. However, 6-year-old preschoolers are atypical and too few in number to support separate estimates, and therefore have been excluded from this report. The estimates presented here are based on 7,198 interviews representing 20,665,000 children.