NCES Blog

National Center for Education Statistics

Learning about Schools from Teachers and Principals

In the 2015-16 school year, there were approximately 90,400 principals and 3,827,100 teachers in public elementary and secondary schools in the United States. Knowledge about the characteristics and experiences of these key school staff can help inform decisions about education.  The National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS) supports these decisions by providing data on a variety of topics from the perspective of teachers, principals and other school staff. Results from these questionnaires provide information such as:

  • Principals’ education. Among public schools, a majority of principals held a master’s degree (61 percent) as their highest degree, compared to an education specialist/professional diploma at least one year beyond the master’s level (27 percent), a doctorate/first professional degree (10 percent), or a bachelor’s degree or less (2 percent).
  • Hours worked by teachers. On average, regular full-time teachers in public schools spent 53 hours per week on all school-related activities. That includes 27 hours that they were paid to deliver instruction to students during a typical full week. Public school teachers were required to work an average of 38 hours per week to receive their base pay.
  • Online courses. Nationwide, about 21 percent of public schools offered at least one course entirely online. This was more common among public charter schools (29 percent) than it was among traditional public schools (20 percent). A greater percentage of high (58 percent) and combined (64 percent) schools offered one or more courses entirely online than all public schools. It was also more common for schools with fewer than 100 students (45 percent) and schools with 1,000 or more students (44 percent). Among schools offering online courses, relatively more public charter schools offered all of their classes online (14 percent) than traditional public schools (5 percent).

More examples of the type of information collected in the 2015-16 NTPS can be seen in the video below:

More information is available in the NTPS online table library. In addition, analysts can access the data using DataLab or obtain a restricted-use license to conduct their own analyses of NTPS restricted-use data files.

 

By Maura Spiegelman

Announcing the National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS): Redesigning a key data collection effort

By Amy Ho and Chelsea Owens

Teachers and principals form the foundation of the educational process, but there are not a lot of nationally representative, federal data on the characteristics and experiences of these key staff. The Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) has historically been one of the few federal data collections in this area. Since 1987, SASS has provided important data to researchers, policymakers, and leaders in education to help answer critical questions about schools, teachers, principals, and students, including:

  • How well prepared and supported are new teachers?
  • What do principals consider as their most important goal?
  • Have the characteristics of the principal and teacher workforces changed over time?

As one of the few large scale data collection efforts that directly surveys teachers and principals about their own experiences, SASS has historically served as the nation’s primary data source for information on topics such as teachers’ and principals’ demographic characteristics, teachers’ attitudes about teaching and school conditions, teachers’ qualifications, and teachers’ experiences with intimidation or violence in schools.

While the information obtained from SASS has been an important contribution to our knowledge of the experiences of teachers and principals, changes to the structure of teaching and the desire to better align multiple data collection efforts led NCES to revise the existing SASS instrument. Therefore, NCES launched a redesign of this data collection effort. The new survey, the National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS) includes updated features such as revised questions that can address pressing topics in the field (e.g., use of technology in the classroom, teacher and principal evaluations, etc.).

The NTPS will be administered for the first time this coming school year (2015-16) and will be conducted every two years in order to provide timely data. There are four main components of the NTPS: School Questionnaire, Principal Questionnaire, Teacher Listing Form, and Teacher Questionnaire. In late August, NCES sent out the first questionnaires to a sample of American schools. A school selected to participate in the NTPS will represent thousands of other schools in the nation.

The School Questionnaire asks about length of the school day, how difficult it is to fill vacancies at the school, and community-service graduation requirements. The Principal Questionnaire asks questions on parent/guardian involvement, how often problems such as bullying and gang activities occur, how teachers and principals are evaluated, and principals’ top goals. The Teacher Questionnaire includes questions involving teacher satisfaction, use of instructional software in the classroom, teacher perceptions of autonomy, and experiences during teachers’ first year of teaching.

The participation of teachers, principals, and other staff in the 2015-16 NTPS will greatly help policymakers and leaders in education improve schools for our students, teachers, and principals by looking at the current status of these issues.  In the United States, the needs and challenges facing each school are sometimes vastly different, but the NTPS data can provide information for meeting these needs.

For more information on NTPS, please visit: http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/ntps/overview.asp.