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Statistical Standards
Statistical Standards Program
Table of Contents
1. Development of Concepts and Methods

1-1 Intial Planning of Surveys
1-2 Publication and Production Planning
1-3 Computation of Response Rates
1-4 Codes and Abbreviations
1-5 Defining Race and Ethnicity Data
1-6 Discretionary Grant Descriptions

2. Planning and Design of Surveys
3. Collection of Data
4. Processing and Editing of Data
5. Analysis of Data / Production of Estimates or Projections
6. Establishment of Review Procedures
7. Dissemination of Data
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Publication information

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PURPOSE: To provide an initial planning document that includes the information required for a decision on whether or not to proceed with the preliminary design and implementation plans of a specific survey or survey system.

KEY TERMS: assessment, design effect, effect size, effective sample size, key variables, minimum substantively significant effect (MSSE), planning document, power, response rate, and survey system.

STANDARD 1-1-1: The initial plan for developing a survey or survey system must include the justification for the study and must describe the survey methodology. Prior to an OMB fiscal year budget request for data collection, the initial planning document must be presented to the OC/ODC for review and a decision on whether to proceed with the design phase. The initial planning document must include the following:

  1. A justification for the survey, including: the rationale for the survey, the goals and objectives, and related hypotheses to be tested. This justification must include evidence that consultations with potential users have occurred.

  3. A review of related studies, surveys, and reports of federal and non-federal sources to ensure that part or all of the data are not available from an existing source, or could not be more appropriately obtained by adding questions to existing surveys sponsored by NCES or other agencies. The goal here is to minimize respondent burden. If a new survey is needed, efforts should be made in the development of the questionnaire and any assessment items to minimize the burden to individual respondents.

  5. Surveys that involve interviewing students in elementary and secondary schools must adhere to the requirements of the Protection of Pupil Rights Act and related amendments (see 20 US Code Section 1232h and amendments included in Section 1061 of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002). Specifically, without written consent from a student's parent, questions may not be asked about the following:

    1. Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student's parent;
    2. Mental or psychological problems of the student or the student's family;
    3. Sex behavior or attitudes;
    4. Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
    5. Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships;
    6. Legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers;
    7. Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or the student's parent; or
    8. Income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation or for receiving financial assistance under such a program).

    In addition, the confidentiality and privacy provisions of the Privacy Act and the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002, must be taken into account in designing any studies that will collect individually identifiable data from any survey participants (see Standard 4-2).

  7. A preliminary survey design that discusses the proposed target population, response rate goals (see Standard 2-3), sample design, sample size and effective sample size determination based on power analyses for the MSSEs for key variables, data collection methods, and methodological issues.

  9. A preliminary analysis plan that identifies analysis issues, objectives, key variables, minimum substantively significant effect sizes, and proposed statistical techniques.

  11. A list of data items that will be maintained over time as part of an NCES data series, including the justification for each item.

  13. A preliminary time schedule that accounts for the complete survey cycle from planning to data release.

  15. A preliminary publication and dissemination plan that identifies proposed major publications and their target audiences (see Standard 1-2).

  17. A preliminary survey evaluation plan that identifies the proposed analyses necessary for data users to understand the quality and limitations of the survey (see Standard 4-3).

  19. An internal cost estimate that reflects all of the above items.