Page images

Adequacy of the Education Statistics

Program NCES is mandated? to document statistically the condition of American education, to prepare special analyses of such statistics, and to assist State and local education agencies in developing and implementing standardized statistical systems. The core program of the Center includes the collection of data on elementary/secondary education, postsecondary education, educational manpower, and libraries.

and secondary education. Chief among these studies are: a survey of nonpublic elementary and secondary school enrollments, staff, and finances; a survey of preprimary enrollments of children under six; and a series of studies concerned with the financing of public schools, which includes periodic surveys on expenditures for public elementary and secondary education and statistics of local public school systems' finances.

National Assessment of Educational Progress

Elementary/Secondary Education

The Elementary-Secondary General Information System (ELSEGIS), initiated in 1969 and conducted annually, is the primary instrument for acquisition of quantitative data on the pupils, staff, finances and facilities in public elementary and secondary education in the United States and outlying areas. The Elementary/Secondary Common Core of Data, a proposed census of local school systems, intermediate education agencies, and State education agencies, is currently being pilot tested by NCES. Full-scale implementation of the directory, staff, and pupil components is scheduled for the 1978-79 school year; the fiscal data component will be operational for local school districts in the 1980-81 school year. The Common Core of Data has been designed to replace ELSEGIS and to provide improved data for education planners, administrators and researchers. Implementation of this new system, which is central to the improvement of the Center's base line statistics on elementary and secondary education, must include substantial technical assistance and adequate financial aid to the data producers. Such assistance will be critical to strengthening the data production capabilities of State and local agencies, an essential ingredient in producing statistics of higher quality and comparability at the Federal level. Once installed, the program should be subjected to careful evaluation to determine the utility of data being collected, the necessity for universe coverage of school districts, and the need for annual collection of all data elements. Differences in State and local recordkeeping systems which affect the quality of the data provided should be documented and assessed; efforts should be made to develop mechanisms for adjusting State level data as necessary to produce accurate national totals and interstate comparisons.

Complementing the general statistical base now acquired through ELSEGIS are additional NCES activities designed to obtain fuller data on elementary

Efforts by NCES to measure the outcomes of elementary-secondary education, as contrasted with various enumerations concerning educational institutions and participants, are concentrated in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). NAEP is an annual survey of the knowledge, skills, understandings and attitudes of selected groups of young Americans. The project focuses on two main questions: (1) What is the educational attainment of various population groups in major school-related subject areas? and (2) What are the changes in attainment over time, if any, in these areas? More recently, NAEP has been modified to incorporate the collection of data concerning the mastery of basic life skills and knowledge. To enhance its potential utility for users at all levels of the educational system, NAEP has: (1) extended efforts to interpret findings; (2) increased the number of background variables being collected; (3) expanded technical assistance to State and local education agencies using NAEP materials and methodology; (4) increased efforts to provide comparative data or "derived estimates" for use with State and local “piggybacks" of the assessment; and (5) involved numerous organizations, groups, and individuals in examining present and future directions of the national assessment.

The Center's evaluation of the NAEP program should continue efforts underway to determine the users of the data, and the uses made of the information for Federal/national policy development. Based on the results of this evaluation, the program should be streamlined to reflect national data needs. In particular, greater emphasis should be given to measuring functional abilities of the population (in contrast to assessments of subject area knowledge). It is further recommended that priority be given to measuring the abilities of individuals who have completed their educational experience to determine whether those who have left the educational system are equipped to function in society. Efforts to assess the benefits of combining the NAEP program with the Center's National Longitudinal Study should be continued by NCES.

? Public Law 93-380, The Education Amendments of 1974.

program of NCES currently includes: the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 (NLS); surveys of noncollegiate postsecondary career schools; and statistics on adult and continuing education. NLS provides data on the extent to which career plans and aspirations persist over time and are eventually fulfilled or thwarted; the characteristics and abilities of those choosing various kinds of postsecondary education and occupations; the impact of Federal funds on initial educational plans, on perseverance of intention and on success; and the extent to which educational experiences have prepared youth for work. The individual experience and outcome data which are provided through the NLS constitute a valuable resource for education planning. Priority should be given by NCES to the funding of a new cohort, so that changes in experiences and outcomes which have been effected by changes in economic conditions and educational alternatives may be assessed. In addition, as noted earlier, consideration should continue to be given to merging selected NLS data with information from the NAEP study.

Postsecondary Education

Central to the postsecondary education statistical program of NCES is the Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS), which systematically collects institution-based, quantitative data on the Nation's colleges and universities, including community and other 2-year colleges. Annual surveys acquire basic information on the number of students and selected characteristics of institutions, students, staff, financial structure and operations. Data collected on other than an annual basis include information on enrollment for advanced degrees, student residence and migration, institutional libraries, and physical facilities.

The nature of postsecondary educational opportunities, and patterns of student participation have changed significantly in the past decade. The Federal Government has not, as yet, adequately adjusted its data collection, analysis and dissemination programs to reflect current and future issues, nor has it made substantial progress in developing a common core of data for postsecondary education to complement the program under development for elementary and secondary education. Analyses of changes in the information reported from year to year should be conducted on the specific data items in the HEGIS surveys to determine the needed periodicity and coverage for the information being collected. In particular, the need for annual, universe coverage of opening fall enrollment and earned degree data should be studied; the use of sample data to provide estimates for these indicators in alternate years should be considered. In addition, a study of the uses and users of HEGIS data should be undertaken to assess the relevance of the information collected and the publications disseminated. It is anticipated that such a study would lead not only to recommendations for the elimination of particular data elements (for example, information on facilities construction is expected to be less important in the absence of Federal support programs) but also to proposals for new items which should be collected (for example, data on facilities renovation is needed to determine the scope of problems anticipated as a result of the need to conserve energy as well as from inadequate renovation programs in past years). In alternate years, NCES should substitute for its institution-based HEGIS survey of staff an individual-based survey of faculty to obtain needed data on faculty salaries, tenure, mobility and other items which cannot be obtained through the current system and which are required for the development of national policy with respect to the support of teacher education.

The program of surveys of noncollegiate postsecondary career schools is currently focused on the collection of data to provide national estimates of vocational program enrollments by program, sex, race/ethnic group, full-time/part-time status, and completions and noncompletions. A survey of the characteristics of students in noncollegiate postsecondary schools will provide data on the socioeconomic characteristics, education, and work experience of participants, as well as on the students' reasons for school and curricular selections and plans for the future. This survey, which will provide needed information for planning Federal student aid program support levels, should be pursued on a recurring basis to complement HEGIS data and fill a serious gap in the postsecondary education statistics program. NCES should ensure that the proprietary schools, which comprise a significant portion of the postsecondary institutions, are included in all phases of the noncollegiate postsecondary surveys. In addition, provision should be made to obtain information on enrollments in nondegree programs of the junior and community colleges in order to fill a notable gap in the current vocational program enrollment data.

The Adult and Continuing Education Statistics Program is designed to develop a base of information on what has been described as the most rapidly growing segment of education in America. Through a series of triennial surveys of individuals, trend data are provided on the extent to which adults are participating in educational programs, their activities, and related socioeconomic information.

In addition to HEGIS, the postsecondary statistics

This survey series is supplemented by information on for which the demand for teachers and adult education provided by the program sponsors,

administrators will grow within the next 5 years. including colleges and universities, community NCES plans to keep this information current, and in agencies, public schools, and correspondence 1979 will conduct a survey of school districts to colschools. The costs of participation in adult programs,

lect similar information. In addition, a survey of as well as the sources of funds used by the participants teachers will be conducted to provide data on the who enroll for various purposes, should also be number of teachers hired from the teacher reserve ascertained by NCES in its adult education studies for pool, the number who have received certification in a use in planning student aid programs. Further studies new field and are teaching in that field (retraining), of adult and continuing education should allow for the number who have changed their teaching concrete analysis of participation by purpose.

location, and the number who are certified to be and

have been employed as educational administrators. A major new responsibility of the National Center

NCES is also sponsoring work on the development of for Education Statistics, which cuts across the

a model teacher collective bargaining information elementary-secondary and postsecondary sectors, is

system for use by all parties engaged in negotiation at the design and implementation of a national

the local level. While data to implement the system vocational education data reporting and accounting

must be assembled by the interested parties, NCES system. Mandated by law in 1976,' the system must

will provide the model to facilitate use of the data. provide information on vocational students (in

Consideration should be given by NCES to expanding cluding data on their race and sex), programs, pro

this effort to the area of higher education, where colgram completers and leavers, staff, facilities, and

lective bargaining is an emerging phenomenon. expenditures. NCES is currently working with relevant Federal units and the State Education

The proposed package of studies on education Agencies to design and pilot test the components of

personnel will contribute to filling a serious gap in the accounting and reporting systems. In finalizing information needed for national policy with respect the systems specifications, NCES must ensure that the

to the support of teacher education programs. new recordkeeping and reporting requirements are

Because of the importance of this issue concerning the carefully coordinated with other general-purpose and training and utilization of teachers, consideration program statistical activities at the Federal level, and

should be given to expanding the personnel supply and that the data to be transmitted to the Federal

demand information collection to the area of Government have a demonstrated utility for national

postsecondary education. planning and management purposes. Education Manpower

Library Statistics

The Library General Information Survey Training, work situations, and job markets for teachers are undergoing major changes. In response

(LIBGIS) collects systematic data on virtually all to requirements of the Education Amendments of

types of libraries in the United States. Information on 1976, NCES has increased its efforts to conduct

resources (both print and nonprint media),

expenditures, staffing, facilities and hours of services surveys on the supply of and demand for education

has been collected on public school libraries/media personnel. Studies conducted on preservice education

centers, public libraries, college and university and recent college graduates have provided some of the data needed on teacher supply. The survey of

libraries, and special libraries (including library co

operatives, consortia and networks; State libraries recent college graduates will be conducted on a

and State library agencies; and libraries serving combiennial basis to provide recurring information required to monitor the supply of teachers.

merce and industry.) To complement the existing

series, two new surveys are planned; the first of these To provide information on the demand for is a survey of the socioeconomic characteristics of teachers and administrators, NCES is conducting library users, while the second concerns the several new studies. In FY 1978 NCES surveyed

qualifications and demographic characteristics of school districts through the Center's Fast Response

library staff, both professional and paraprofessional. Survey System to identify teacher shortages (the number of position openings for which qualified

Library statistics collected and compiled by NCES teachers could not be found), the demand for new

are used by a variety of Federal agencies, including school administrators, and the identification of fields

the Office of Education, the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, the Commission

on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works, Public Law 94-482, The Education Amendments of 1976. the Library of Congress, the National Library of


Medicine, and the National Agricultural Library. The basic statistical data provided through this program will serve as an essential input to the 1979 White House Conference on Library and Information Services. Given the breadth of users of Federal library statistics, it is essential that the NCES program be carefully designed to allow adequate coverage of the range of library services without imposing undue burden on the respondent agencies. It is therefore recommended that the uses and users of the information gathered on libraries be analyzed as a basis for determining the appropriate frequency for surveying various sectors of the library community and the types of data to be collected on the role and contribution of libraries to the educational system.

Other Education Statistics

Beyond the data collection and analysis activities cited above, which are wholly the responsibility of NCES, the Center is also cooperating with other units of the Education Division and DHEW on major studies of the bilingual population, the educationally disadvantaged and the handicapped youth. These broad initiatives have been mandated by the Congress during the last 3 years. The congressional requirements for data representative of individual local education agencies call for a significant increase in the collection and analysis of base line statistics on groups in the population which are the primary targets for federally assisted education programs. The collection of population statistics (in contrast to institution-based statistics) represents an important opportunity for the Center to shift its emphasis from being basically a recorder of historical information to becoming an important participant in educational policy formulation at the Federal/national level. NCES must ensure that adequate staff resources are committed to the design of these population studies, and to the analysis of resultant data which will influence the nature and scope of Federal program initiatives.

Complementing the data on higher education collected by NCES are the science and engineering resources data gathered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on graduate students enrolled in the sciences and engineering, academic research and development expenditures, and employment and characteristics of academic scientific and engineering personnel. The Division of Science Resource Studies within the NSF Directorate for Scientific, Technological and International Affairs has as its primary objective the development of factual and analytical information to provide the basis for national planning and policy formulation in the area of science and technology resources.

The college and university portion of the NSF studies on funding of scientific and technological activities includes three surveys which are conducted biennially; an abbreviated survey form is being designed to collect essential core data elements needed to maintain the trend series in alternate years. These are:

The Survey of Graduate Science Student Support and Postdoctorals, which is designed to secure upto-date information on the major sources and mechanisms of support for full-time graduate students and postdoctorals, and the level of study, sex, and citizenship of full-time students by field of enrollment; The Survey of Scientific and Engineering Expenditures at Universities and Colleges, which provides data on separately budgeted research and development expenditures by source of funds and type of activity, instructional and departmental research, and capital research and development expenditures by major field of science; and by field of science and source of funds; and The Survey of Scientific and Engineering Personnel Employed at Universities and Colleges, which collects field of science data on scientists and engineers by employment status, type of primary activity, and sex. The highest earned degree of the employed scientists and engineers is available by type of activity. Information on the number of technicians is collected by field and type of activity.

The NSF program of studies on the development and utilization of scientific and technical manpower includes:

The Comprehensive Doctorate Roster, which is maintained by the National Academy of Sciences through biennial surveys to provide data on the number and characteristics of new doctorates awarded in specific fields; The National Sample of Scientists and Engineers, which is conducted by the Bureau of the Census on a biennial basis to obtain basic information on scientists, including employment status and speciality, years of professional work experience, postdoctoral support, and other characteristics; and The Survey of Recent Scientific and Engineering Graduates, which collects data annually on the employment of scientists and engineers in industry by field and work activity.

Related to the NSF program of manpower studies is the Doctorate Awards Survey carried out by the National Academy of Sciences. This survey collects

and develops the primary data base for the maintenance of the Doctorate Record File.

system proceeds. While it does not appear appropriate to have this major data collection program assumed by NCES, every effort should be made to coordinate activities so that compatible and nonredundant systems are developed.

Complementing the NSF program of recurring surveys is the Higher Education Panel, which is jointly supported by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Education, and the National Institute of Education. The Higher Education Panel, which is designed to provide early measures of change through quick response sample surveys, has sponsored studies of enrollments, research activities, faculty, and a number of other subjects.

The Health Resources Administration, like NSF, is mandated to collect and disseminate data on a limited segment of the educational system, namely, the area of health education. Although the Bureau of Health Manpower has supported public health education for more than 20 years, a systematic approach to the specification and collection of data to plan, administer, and evaluate the Federal effort has not existed.

In addition to the information provided through the core programs of general education statistics described above, significant data on the educational status of the population are provided through household surveys of the Bureau of the Census. The Current Population Survey October supplement annually produces national statistics on the number of pupils in nursery school, kindergarten, elementary school, high school, and college. Characteristics of the students, including age, sex, race, income of family, employment of parents, employment of student, region of residence, and other social background factors, are derived from the survey. In addition, this is the only national survey which provides reliable data on the characteristics of persons eligible for school who are not currently enrolled. These surveys provide, by their consistency from year to year, measures of trends in high school drop-out rates; characteristics of students in college and the income and education of their families; and school participation rates of age, sex, and ethnic groups.

With the passage of Public Law 94-484, the Health Professions Educational Assistance Act of 1976, recognition was given to the continuing inadequacies in the area of health education data. To address these needs, the act specifies that the Secretary, in cooperation with the National Center for Health Statistics, shall be responsible for the continuous development and dissemination of nationwide statistics on public health manpower, including educational requirements, the cost of training and, as needed to calculate surpluses and shortages of manpower, current and trend data on educational program outputs by types of specialists within the general field of public health. The Bureau of Health Manpower, which is responsible for administering the bulk of Federal programs assisting in the production of health manpower resources, has the lead responsibility within the Health Resources Administration for developing a program to meet the needs for health education information. The plan which is now under development will build upon ongoing data collection mechanisms, including cooperative relationships with professional associations for the collection of institutional and individual student data, programmatic reporting which yields aggregate statistical information, and the Bureau's program of periodic and longitudinal studies, to produce a more systematic approach to the collection of health education statistics. Joint working relationships between the Bureau of Health Manpower and the Education Division of DHEW should be continued as planning and implementation of this

Data from the October CPS, which provide the only reliable national estimates of the income for families with college age dependents, have been used, for example, to predict the number of applications for the Basic Educational Opportunity Grants program, and to evaluate the effects of the grant program on enrollment in colleges. The annual March CPS supplement provides reliable data on the income, occupation, employment, and family characteristics of persons by years of school completed. Reports from this series are useful for analyzing the trends in income levels or occupational achievement of specific education-age groups, and for measuring shifts in attainment levels of various ethnic groups. The decennial census also provides data on education based on questions regarding whether a person was enrolled in school, grade enrolled in, grade completed, and whether a vocational course was completed.

Substantial data on federally supported programs and activities are collected and analyzed by component units of the Office of Education. Certain planning, administrative and evaluation reports concerning the populations to be served and benefit recipients are required by OE in each of its more than 100 programs. The statistical data requirements of Federal program applications, and fiscal and performance reports represent a major portion of the

« PreviousContinue »