Research Methodology & Demographics

We’re compiling findings from multiple research studies that span a range of perspectives and protocols and organizing them into multiple domains in order to understand the state of standards implementation.

About this Site

Our findings draw from four research studies examining multiple aspects of standards
 implementation across different roles. Each aspect of implementation—for example, Instructional Shifts—is organized into a domain, with a page for every domain. Each domain consists of multiple key findings from one or more research studies, with each finding supported by evidence including data visualizations and quotations.

CA District Leader Interviews – Methodology & Demographics

In the fall of 2016, we talked to 45 District Leaders representing all 11 California education service regions to understand their districts’ current capacities and constraints to support teachers and school leaders through the implementation of the California State Standards.

These insights and the supporting data were gathered through structured telephone interviews with superintendents, assistant superintendents and directors for curriculum and instruction, and English Language Arts (ELA) and math coordinators from a representative sample of California school districts. Our sampling takes into account districts’ geographic locale type (urban, suburban, town and rural), geographic region, English Language Learner (ELL) student population, the number of students receiving Free and Reduced Price Lunch (FRL) and pupil-teacher ratios.

Demographically, the interviewed districts were representative of the state, with the proportion of rural district participants skewing somewhat greater than the state overall.

Student Population Totals

CA Student Total: 6,224,000
2016 District Interview Student Total: 395,540
2015 District Interview Student Total: 940,000

School District Totals

Total CA Districts: 1,182
Total 2016 Interview Districts: 45
Total 2015 Interview Districts: 42

District Demographics Comparison

Data Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), “Local Education Agency (School District) Universe Survey,” 2012-13 v.1a; “Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey,” 2012-13 v.1a.



Designed to survey the same educators at regular intervals over time, RAND’s American Teacher Panel (ATP) survey launched in 2014 and has been administered multiple times yearly since. Panel members complete three or four web-based surveys every year, and panelists receive a small monetary incentive after completing each survey.


To create the ATP, RAND researchers first sampled 2,300 public schools from the 2010/11 and 2011/12 federal Common Core of Data (managed by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics), and stratified that sample on five variables: grade span (primary, middle, high and combined); school size; poverty status (proportion receiving free/reduced-price lunch); population density; and geographic region. Then, using probability-sampling methods, two regular full-time teachers were selected from each sampled school to join the ATP, and these teachers were stratified by experience level (novice and experienced) and subject area (three strata at the elementary level, and five strata at the secondary level). Individuals who change schools remain on the panel; new members are added periodically so the panel remains representative of teachers over time. In 2015, the full ATP sample included 3,540 total teachers across the U.S., and surveys were completed by 65 percent of them.


A total of 523 California teachers were included in the ATP sample for the October 2016 survey administration; 281 responded, for a response rate of 54 percent. Weighting, which accounts for differential sampling and non-response, was used to produce results representative of the state sample. In turn, these survey results have an approximate margin of error of ±6.5 percent.

Share This