Overview of the National Center for Education Statistics


With so much going on in education today,
where can you turn to stay informed? The National Center for Education Statistics, or NCES, is your source for quality, useful, and
timely education statistics, and is an important resource for understanding
education in the United States. This short video will provide an introduction
to the Center by highlighting our history, current activities, and how our work informs
the public about the state of American education. NCES traces its origins to 1867 and the establishment
of the first Department of Education. Our mission is to collect, analyze, and disseminate information describing the condition and
progress of education in America. Since our beginnings, we have continued to
evolve and expand in the fulfillment of this mission. Today, the Center offers data on a wide variety of topics, including: early childhood and K through 12 education, academic assessments, postsecondary education,
adult education, labor force outcomes, and international comparisons. NCES is making groundbreaking innovations
in many areas, such as digital data collection, adaptive survey design, and interactive mapping. NCES collects information through many surveys,
assessments, administrative sources, and studies. The Center also conducts important research,
hosts a number of data tools, provides services such as technical assistance to state and local partners, and produces a wide variety of publications each year. NCES statistics and reports are used
for many different purposes. Policymakers, researchers, educators,
parents, students, and the media, use NCES data and tools to develop programs,
allocate resources, find schools, and to stay informed about the latest
trends in education. NCES also publishes several flagship reports each year, including the Digest of Education Statistics— a collection of data tables that covers topics across
the broad spectrum of education. The Condition of Education is another central
NCES report that uses graphics and text to describe the state of education and summarize
important education developments and trends. Each year, NCES presents this report to Congress. NCES data and studies are central in informing
national conversations about education. For example, in the 1960s, Congress authorized
the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as NAEP or the Nation’s Report Card. NAEP was created to measure the
academic progress of the nation as a whole, as well as the progress of different student subgroups. The Center’s work continues to shine a light
on the education issues of our day. NCES data also serve as an independent benchmark
for localities around the United States. For example, our data allow schools in one
city, district, or state to compare themselves to schools in other places on various measures such as the percentage of students
that are proficient in math. Our data also show how the U.S. fares
internationally in several areas, ranging from education spending to adult literacy. In addition, NCES longitudinal surveys provide
data needed to study progressions from early childhood, through postsecondary education, and into early careers. Data from these surveys can help answer questions such as whether students’ high school
academic achievement is related to college enrollment and completion. NCES is an independent and nonpartisan government
agency, working to provide the most reliable and accurate information possible. NCES also understands the importance of protecting
the trust and privacy of survey respondents, including students, parents, and educators. To ensure that the Center fulfills its mission
in providing quality, useful, and timely data, operations at NCES are directed by
rigorous statistical standards. As our nation evolves and continues to move
forward into the 21st century, the ongoing role of NCES in collecting relevant, timely,
and quality data is as important as ever. We will continue to collect, analyze, and publish
data on education issues of longstanding interest. In addition, we remain poised to collect data
on new and emerging areas in education. We welcome your collaboration in our efforts. We invite you to follow us on Twitter and
Facebook, read our blog, access the Distance Learning Dataset Trainings, and sign up for email alerts about
new releases and activities. Visit us online to find out more about
the full scope of our work.

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