Since 2015, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Measure to Learn and Improve (MLI) initiative has examined the implementation of college- and career-ready standards across multiple U.S. states through surveys of teachers and school leaders. WestEd serves as the California Data Partner for the MLI initiative. The Center’s third strand of CA Insights research comes from annual MLI data drawn from the RAND American Teacher Panel (ATP) Survey and the RAND American School Leader Panel (ASLP) Surveys.
About the Data Source: The RAND American Teacher Panel (ATP) & American School Leader Panel (ASLP) Surveys
Designed to survey the same educators at regular intervals over time, the RAND Corporation’s American Teacher Panel (ATP) and American School Leader Panel (ASLP) surveys launched in 2014 and have been administered multiple times yearly since. The ATP and ASLP surveys are nationally representative, with oversamples in four states (California, Louisiana, New Mexico, and New York) to ensure state-level representativeness in each. RAND currently uses single-stage, stratified random sampling to draw new teachers and principals at random for its panels, from lists contained in existing, comprehensive databases (stratifying on the basis of state, for oversampling). Each panelist is assigned a weight that accounts for sample design and probability of non-response (taking into account key variables like school size, grade span, poverty status, and experience), and linearization techniques are used to calculate margins of error. 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.
A total of 798 California teachers were included in the ATP sample for the May 2017 survey administration, and 479 responded, for a response rate of 60 percent. Weighting, which accounts for differential sampling and non-response, was used to produce results representative of the full state sample (yielding an approximate margin of error of ±4.5 percent). For the May 2017 ASLP survey, 386 of 1,024 California school leaders (38%) responded. For the October 2016 survey administration, 523 California teachers were included in the ATP sample and 281 responded (54%), yielding an approximate (average) margin of error of ±6.5 percent. Only 45 of the 130 sampled California school leaders (35%) responded to the parallel October 2016 ASLP survey.