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Using the Pre-Elementary Education Longitudinal Study (PEELS) Database for Research and Policy Discussion

Purpose: The National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER), Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, will sponsor a 3-day advanced studies seminar on the use of the Pre-Elementary Education Longitudinal Study (PEELS) database. The PEELS study is designed to collect information on the characteristics of children receiving preschool special education, their educational programs and services, and their transitions from preschool programs to elementary schools.

This seminar is open to advanced graduate students and faculty members from colleges and universities nationwide and to researchers, education practitioners, and policy analysts from federal, state, and local education and human services agencies and professional associations.

Type: Training
Dates: January 13-15, 2009
Location: Washington, DC
PEELS: In 2002, the U.S. Department of Education funded PEELS to provide a national picture of the characteristics, experiences, and outcomes of children with disabilities as they progress through preschool into their early elementary years. PEELS includes a sample of over 3,000 children with disabilities who were 3 to 5 years old at the start of the study and had Individualized Education Programs or Individualized Family Service Plans to receive special education services.
Data are being collected in five waves via telephone interviews with parents of preschoolers with disabilities, one-on-one assessments of children participating in this study, and mail surveys with the children's teachers and other service providers, school principals, district administrators, and state education agency administrators. The datasets includes over 4500 variables related to child and family characteristics; special education programs and services; and academic, social, and functional performance for preschoolers with disabilities. Data collection began in fall 2003, continued in winter/spring 2005, 2006, and 2007, and will be repeated in 2009.
Links: For further information about PEELS, including available publications that can be downloaded, visit the study website (
Expected Outcome: The overall goal of the training seminar is to prepare researchers to use PEELS data in substantive research. The seminar will include both lecture and hands-on instruction. Specifically, the seminar will include the following topics and activities:
  • overview of the PEELS design, instruments, and database,
  • discussion of the methodological and technical issues relevant to PEELS data use,
  • instruction and practice with PEELS data, and
  • hands-on experience in conducting analyses of PEELS data.
This training seminar does not provide formal instruction on advanced statistical methods and analyses.
  1. Applicants must be citizens or non-citizen nationals of the United States, or must have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence (i.e., possess a currently valid Alien Registration Receipt Card I-551, or other legal verification of such status).
  2. Applicants must demonstrate at least one year of data processing experience with SAS or SPSS to be considered. Participants attending this training seminar are expected to be proficient in the use of SPSS or SAS statistical software packages. Participants will be expected to know how to perform SPSS or SAS procedures, including manipulating data (e.g., joining data tables, subsetting data, recoding data, creating new variables) and running statistical analyses (e.g., frequency distributions, cross-tabulations, regression analyses).
Eligible applicants (i.e., those meeting the requirements above and submitting their application materials by November 23, 2008) will be evaluated on the following criteria:
  • significance of the proposed research;
  • alignment of the proposed research plan with PEELS data;
  • prior research experience and training; and
  • knowledge and skills in statistical analyses and the use of statistical computer packages.
Financial Support: There is no fee to attend the training seminar. NCSER will provide training materials as well as computers for hands-on practice. NCSER will also pay for transportation and hotel accommodations. Participants will be responsible for their meals during travel and while in Washington, DC.
Location: The training seminar will be held in Washington, DC, January 13-15, 2009. Accepted applicants will be sent information about meeting and lodging arrangements.
Application Instructions: Individuals interested in attending the training seminar must submit:
  1. A copy of their resume or curriculum vitae. Applicants should indicate citizenship status on their resume or curriculum vitae.
  2. A short (2 to 3 pages) statement of interest (8.5 x 11 inch page; single-spaced; 12 point font; with 1-inch top, bottom, and side margins). Information on what to include in the statement of interest is described below. Statements of interest that are longer than 3 pages will not be reviewed.
  3. Graduate students must provide a letter of recommendation from their faculty advisor.
In the statement of interest, applicants should:
  1. Clearly describe the substantive issues and research questions that they intend to study using PEELS data. Applicants should address the significance of these issues and questions.
  2. Explain why PEELS is an appropriate data source for addressing the proposed research questions. Applicants should identify the PEELS assessments, questionnaires and/or survey content areas to be utilized for this research. Information regarding assessments, questionnaires and content areas is available at the study website ( This information will help applicants determine if their questions can be addressed through the PEELS data.
  3. Briefly describe their research experience and training and how the training seminar would contribute to their overall program of research.
  4. Document their experience and proficiency with the SPSS or SAS procedures described under the section on Qualifications.
Applications must be submitted via e-mail to:

Applications will not be accepted after November 23, 2008. Only complete applications will be considered for review.
Other Information: Applicants who do not meet the qualifications given above will be rated ineligible.

The number of applicants selected to participate from the same organization or institution may be limited to two if the total number of eligible applicants (i.e., applicants who meet all of the requirements and submit a complete application by the due date) exceeds the space capacity of the training seminar.

Accepted candidates will be notified by December 5, 2008. Accepted candidates will receive the seminar agenda and information about travel arrangements.

If selected for participation, individuals who require accommodations for disabilities to participate in the PEELS Database Training Seminar should contact Chonita Milner-Vaughn (see contact information below) by December 12, 2008 to ensure that appropriate accommodations are provided.
Access to Restricted-Use Data: Accepted candidates will be required to bring a signed and notarized Affidavit of Nondisclosure to the first training session. A blank form will be provided to all accepted candidates prior to the training.

This non-disclosure form permits limited access to restricted-use PEELS data during this training seminar. Course materials do not include the PEELS data. Participants interested in performing further analyses and publishing results using PEELS data will be required to submit a separate application for licensure. Licenses for using these restricted-use data outside of the training seminar may be obtained through NCES (National Center for Education Statistics).

More information on Licensing is available at:
Contact Information: Inquiries about e-mail submission of PEELS Database Training Seminar application materials:

Chonita Milner-Vaughn
Optimal Solutions Group, LLC
8100 Professional Place, Suite 312
Hyattsville, MD 20785

Telephone: 301-306-1170
Submission E-mail: