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IES Conferences, Workshop/Training & Technical Assistance
2011 International Databases Training Seminar
   Using NCES International Databases for Research and Policy Discussion


The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, will sponsor a 3-day seminar on the use of NCES International Databases: the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).


As a pilot program, NCES will be allowing a limited number of users to take part in the International Databases Training Seminar remotely using Microsoft LiveMeeting. When you complete your registration form, you will be asked to indicate your interest in participating in the seminar remotely.

In order to ensure that remote participants will be able to fully participate in the seminar, persons interested in taking part via LiveMeeting will need to have access to a computer system that meets the following minimum requirements:

  • Windows-based PC running Windows XP (Service Pack 3 or higher), Windows Vista, or Windows 7
  • Processor speed of at least 1.0 GHz
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • Video card with 64 MB of RAM (video RAM or VRAM) and Microsoft DirectX┬« 9 application programming interface generation
  • Sound card, speaker, and computer microphone
  • Screen resolution of 1024x768 or higher
  • Internet connection with a minimum bandwidth of 500 kbps
  • The ability to install software (administrator account) or the ability to request software be added to a system (e.g., for university computers)
  • Windows Media Player version 9 or higher
  • SPSS version 11 or higher


The overall goal of the seminar is to provide researchers with opportunities to gain access to some of the most comprehensive education data resources in the nation and to use the PISA, TIMSS, and/or PIRLS data in substantive research. The seminar will include both lecture and hands-on instruction. Specifically, the seminar will include the following topics and activities:

  • an overview of the survey sample designs, data components, and coverage;
  • discussion of methodological and technical issues relevant to data use;
  • instruction and practice with PISA 2009, TIMSS 2007, and PIRLS 2006 data; and
  • hands-on experience in conducting analyses.

It should be noted that this seminar will not provide formal instruction on advanced statistical methods and analyses, such as multilevel modeling.

At the conclusion of the seminar, participants shall submit a preliminary analysis plan that uses one or more of these international databases, including a clear specification of the research questions, a rationale for the analysis, analytic approach (specifications of population, variables, statistical techniques, etc.), and preliminary analysis results, if available. When the analysis is completed and a paper or report drafted, a complimentary copy of the paper or report should be sent to NCES.


Participants attending this seminar should have a solid understanding of statistical methods, be experienced in using personal computers, and be proficient in the use of SPSS or SAS statistical software packages. Participants will be expected to know how to recode data, run descriptive analyses (e.g., frequency distributions and cross-tabulations), and understand bivariate and multivariate analyses (e.g., correlation and multiple regression). Applicants will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • significance of the proposed research and potential benefit from participation in the seminar;
  • consistency of the proposed research agenda with the data available in PISA, TIMSS and/or PIRLS;
  • experience in educational research; and
  • knowledge and skills in statistical analyses and the use of statistical computer packages. (Please see the application form for specific questions pertaining to your level of experience).


There is no fee to attend this seminar. NCES will provide training materials as well as computers for hands-on practice. For out-of-town participants, NCES will also pay for transportation, hotel accommodations, and a fixed per diem for meals and incidental expenses during the training seminar.

Type: Workshop/Training & Technical Assistance
Audience: 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 state and local education agencies and professional associations.
Location: Washington, DC
Applicants will be sent information about meeting and lodging arrangements.
Dates: May 23-25, 2011
Organization: National Center for Education Statistics
Contacts:   Contact Vukovic, Gordana from Synergy Enterprises, Inc. at (240) 485-1700