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December 2006

From the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

NCES Hosts Meeting on Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems

NCES played host November 30-December 1 to the first fall grantee meeting of the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grant Program. The meeting in Arlington, VA, served as a forum for dialog, collaboration, and the sharing of best practices. Presentations and discussions were led by members of the State SLDS project teams and other experts in the field. Topics included Stakeholder Engagement; Data and Analyses Provided to Local Stakeholders Via Secure Web Access; Identity Management; Extraction of Reliable Information from Longitudinal Data Systems; Assessing Data Systems' Ability to Support Stakeholder Needs; Data Quality; and Leveraging Longitudinal Data.

Teacher Compensation Survey To Be Pilot Tested

NCES is in the process of initiating a new teacher compensation survey. In spring 2007, NCES plans to pilot test a survey with a small group of states and begin collecting data from all states beginning in 2008. This will be a voluntary data collection, and not all states are expected to participate in the first couple of years. NCES wants to collect the following data items on each public school teacher: base salary, total salary, school ID, years of experience, highest degree earned, race, and gender. NCES also will seek employee benefits data for each teacher. These data will allow NCES to produce average teacher salaries at various levels, and for various groups of teachers. For more information about this new survey, contact

StatChat on Results From the 2005 NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) in Science

If you missed the November 15 StatChat with NCES Associate Commissioner Peggy Carr on the 2005 TUDA results, go to for a transcript. TUDA is a special project of NAEP that assesses the performance of 4th and 8th graders in 10 large urban districts. TUDA results are available at

NPEC Holds Symposium on College Success

What constitutes success in college, and what factors determine the chances of success for different types of students in different college settings? These are complex questions, and the National Postsecondary Education Cooperative devoted three days to answering them at a national symposium of higher education leaders in Washington Nov. 1–3. The cooperative, a voluntary partnership of colleges and universities, associations, government agencies, and organizations, receives funding from NCES.

More than 400 leaders, including many prominent researchers and policymakers, attended the conference. First-day keynote speaker Derek C. Bok, interim president of Harvard University, warned that "we are not making a systematic effort to improve. We have to earn the right to generate reform ourselves."

Before he introduced Bok, NCES Commissioner Mark Schneider made a pitch for an individualized higher education tracking system "that captures student level data that monitors how students progress through the " . . . world of America's postsecondary education."

Secretary Margaret Spellings, in her second-day keynote address, agreed with Schneider. Information provided by such a system, she said, "will help students and families be smart consumers, and help policymakers and college administrators do a better job managing the system and serving their most important client-students."