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National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS)


National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS)
NTPS collects data on:
  • Principals
  • Schools
  • Teachers

The National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS), conducted every two to three years by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), is a system of related questionnaires that provides descriptive data on the context of elementary and secondary education. Redesigned from the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) with a focus on flexibility, timeliness, and integration with other ED data, the NTPS system allows for school, principal, and teacher characteristics to be analyzed in relation to one another. The NTPS is an in-depth, nationally representative survey of K-12 schools, principals, and teachers in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The 2015–16 NTPS included public schools only (both traditional and charter), and the 2017–18 iteration collected data from both public and private schools. The NTPS utilizes core content and a series of rotating modules to allow timely collection of important education trends as well as trend analysis. Topics covered include characteristics of teachers, principals, schools, teacher training opportunities, retention, retirement, hiring, and shortages. The NTPS has been conducted in 2015–16 and 2017–18.


The purpose of the NTPS is to collect information necessary to understand the context of elementary and secondary education. Relative to the SASS, the NTPS redesign is aimed at developing a study that is highly flexible, timely, and integrated with other ED data while maintaining the SASS’s longstanding role as the primary source of data on teacher and principal labor markets, and on the state of K‑12 school staffing. The NTPS provides national estimates of elementary, secondary, and combined schools and teachers. Specifically, it allows for school, principal, and teacher characteristics to be analyzed in detail. This allows a wide variety of people interested in K‑12 education, including teacher professional organizations, education advocacy groups, legislators, researchers, and journalists to compare subgroups, such as urban and rural settings. As well, the survey provides information on national and state level trends regarding core topics such as: workplace conditions, teacher retention rates, and professional development.


The NTPS consists of three core components administered to a sample of public elementary and secondary schools (including charter schools), and private elementary and secondary schools. The 2017–18 NTPS consisted of six questionnaires, three each for public and private schools. These were the Principal Questionnaire, School Questionnaire, Teacher Questionnaire, Private School Principal Questionnaire, Private School Questionnaire, and Private School Teacher Questionnaire. The principal, school, and teacher questionnaires were modified slightly between the public and private school versions to refer to either the public or private sector correctly. The school and principal questionnaires are sent to sampled schools. The teacher questionnaire is sent to a sample of teachers working at sampled schools. There is one follow-up survey to the NTPS: the Principal Follow-up Survey (which is covered in the PFS chapter).

School questionnaire. The school questionnaire is addressed to the "Principal" (or, for private schools, the “Principal or School Head"), although the respondent can be any knowledgeable school staff member (e.g., vice principal, head teacher, or school administrator). Items cover grades offered, student attendance and enrollment, staffing patterns, teaching vacancies, programs and services offered, curriculum, and community service requirements. In addition, the survey collects basic information about the school year, including the beginning time of students’ school day and the length of the school year.

Principal questionnaire. This questionnaire collects information about principal/school head demographic characteristics, training, experience, salary, goals for the school, and judgments about school working conditions and climate. Information is also obtained on professional development opportunities for teachers and principals, teacher performance, barriers to dismissal of underperforming teachers, school climate and safety, parent/guardian participation in school events, and attitudes about educational goals and school governance.


Teacher questionnaire. A subsample of teachers is selected from the teacher listing form (TLF) to minimize burden on schools. These selected teachers are mailed a copy of the teacher questionnaire. The teacher questionnaire collects data from teachers about their current teaching assignment, workload, education history, and perceptions and attitudes about teaching. Questions are also asked about teacher preparation, induction, organization of classes, computers, and professional development. The only eligible respondent for the teacher questionnaire is the selected teacher labeled on the survey form. Teachers are sampled from the TLF, which collects the full list of teachers from a school, along with information on the subject matter taught and the teacher's email address. Pre‑kindergarten, postsecondary, aides, and non‑teaching librarians are omitted from the TLF.


To date, the NTPS occurred in 2015–16 and in 2017– 18. NCES plans for the NTPS to be collected on a two to three year cycle. Its predecessor, the SASS, was on a 3‑year cycle starting in 1987–88 and ending in 1993–94. After a 6‑year hiatus, the SASS was fielded again in 1999–2000, after which SASS administration occurred on a 4‑year cycle (2003–04, 2007– 08, and 2011–12).

Information on the availability of data and schedule of releases for NTPS can be found at