NCPR is pleased to release a video recording of the seminar,
Recent Developments and New Directions for
Data Collection at NCES
On September 24, 2007, Dr. Mark Schneider,
Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES),
delivered a seminar talk at Teachers College, Columbia University. His
presentation, followed by a question-and-answer discussion, was sponsored by
the National Center for Postsecondary Research (NCPR)
and the Community College Research Center (CCRC), both
of which are housed at Teachers College.
Dr. Schneider discussed several NCES products and sketched out how data collections are being improved in response to the needs of policymakers and researchers. He noted, for example, that NCES will soon be embarking on the fourth generation of its high school longitudinal study. Dr. Schneider described the tentative details of this study, the first surveys and assessments of which will be administered in 2009. Part of the study will focus on how students gather and use information about postsecondary education, including information about college costs and financing. The study’s results may also be merged with selected administrative record data from 3 to 5 states in which oversamples are to be collected.
Dr. Schneider spoke on several other issues, including these: how sampling for the new high school longitudinal study could be abutted with sampling for an early childhood longitudinal study; why NCES is implementing a new teacher compensation study; methods for improving participation in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); and, how basing Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) data on full-time, first-time-enrolled college students may affect IPEDS-reported graduation rates.
Dr. Schneider also discussed a major change in NCES data collection that will continue to unfold in the next several years. He noted that surveys are becoming increasingly difficult to administer at NCES, and that survey response rates for both individuals and institutions have declined precipitously. A sharp decline in response rates is, in fact, occurring across the entire Federal statistical system. Dr. Schneider suggested that while the great majority of today’s NCES data are derived from surveys, this is likely to shift in the coming years. Administrative records from states will eventually become the predominant source for national education statistical data.
NCES has already funded 27 states to create and improve state-based student longitudinal data systems, but the shift toward student unit record data has only just begun. NCES will continue to work with states in considering how best to analyze, share, and protect the privacy of these data. Dr. Schneider emphasized that much work remains to be done, and not only in terms of such technical issues as standardization of common definitions across states, but also in the framing of questions that are to be answered with such data.
Dr. Schneider was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Commissioner of NCES on October 24, 2005, for the remainder of a term expiring June 20, 2009. NCES is one of the four centers of the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Schneider is on leave from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he is Distinguished Professor of Political Science, in order to lead NCES.