C O R P O R AT I O N
The American Teacher Panel and
the American School Leader Panel
Two Innovative New Tools
to “Take the Pulse” of America’s Educators
The American Teacher Panel and the American School Leader Panel
provide unique sources of accurate information about teachers’
and school leaders’ evolving knowledge, attitudes, and practices,
and about the conditions in which they work.
Modeled after RAND’s successful American Life Panel,
the American Teacher Panel (ATP) and the American School Leader
Panel (ASLP) are nationally representative panels
consisting of public school teachers and principals
who can be surveyed quickly and easily about a wide range of
emerging, urgent, and ongoing educational topics.
There Is a Critical Need for Information
from America’s Teachers and Principals During an Era of Dramatic Change
New policies—such as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), new types of student assessments, and
new procedures for measuring teacher and school leader
effectiveness—all require knowledge and effort on the
part of principals and teachers. Important questions,
requiring rapid responses, must be addressed if these
policies are to have a positive impact on students:
• What are teachers’ and school leaders’ perceptions
about key education policies?
• Are teachers and school leaders prepared to transform
the curricula in their schools?
• What kinds of professional development and other
support do principals and teachers receive, and are
they aligned with new policies and standards?
• How much time is required for school leaders and
teachers to understand and implement a new policy?
What kinds of obstacles do they encounter along the
way, and how do they overcome them?
• Do novice and experienced principals and teachers
respond differently to new demands and pressures?
• Do school characteristics (e.g., size, grade span, region,
family income level) influence teacher and principal
attitudes?
• How do changing working conditions, including support
for school leader and teacher development, affect teachers’
and principals’ career paths and related decisions?
Quick, accurate answers to these and other questions
can help practitioners and local, state, and national policymakers, as well as other stakeholders, respond effectively
to provide the best education for all of America’s students.
Taking the Pulse of America’s Educators on
a Regular Basis
Both the ATP and ASLP are nationally representative
panels—designed to include approximately 4,600 public
school teachers and 2,300 public school principals,
respectively—who respond to Internet-based surveys
three or four times per year throughout their careers.
The panels were launched in 2014, and surveys have been
administered on multiple occasions since then.
Teachers and school leaders can be compared based
on their school’s size, grade span, region, and poverty
level—and teachers may additionally be compared based
on experience level (novice and experienced) and subject
area (three subjects at the elementary level, five subjects
at the secondary level)—allowing not only for precise
estimates of national responses, but also permitting subanalyses based on school and teacher variables.
Teachers and principals participating in the panels
were initially selected from the same schools to allow for
comparison of the two groups’ responses within a shared
local context. However, participants who change schools
remain on their respective panels, and we add new
members periodically to ensure that the panels remain
representative of teachers and school leaders over time.
How Do the Panels Work?
Surveys are administered via Multimode Interviewing
Capability™ (MMIC™). Developed by RAND, MMIC is
a comprehensive data collection system that provides
diverse survey functionality, as well as panel maintenance and control functions. The use of MMIC allows
us to program and administer a wide range of question
types, including video-based items.
As Internet-based surveys, the ATP and ASLP are
designed to allow teachers and principals to respond
quickly and easily. At the same time, the design allows
researchers and survey administrators to closely monitor
survey results and response rates.
Because the panels survey the same teachers and
principals at regular intervals over their careers, the
information they provide helps clarify the effects of
reforms on teachers and principals, as well as how these
reforms are likely to affect student outcomes.
With the assistance of our partners, RAND reports
the findings of its surveys to the participants, the public, and policymakers so they can follow the changing
responses of educators nationwide.
How Can Organizations and Researchers
Use the ATP and ASLP?
As with the American Life Panel, the ATP and ASLP
serve as resources not only for RAND researchers; they
are also available as tools for external parties seeking
timely, accurate information from teachers and school
leaders on a variety of relevant topics or policy reforms.
Qualified researchers and organizations can utilize
the panels by buying space on the surveys for their
own questions or buying access to the panel to field
additional surveys, with ATP and ASLP staff helping
to design survey items and supporting the administration of the survey. Using MMIC and the Internet-based
platform, ad hoc questionnaires can be programmed
and administered efficiently. Preliminary results and the
final datasets are easily accessed online.
Qualified researchers can also gain access to the
ATP and ASLP data archives, where anonymous results
from previous surveys are available for supplemental
analyses.
Partners and Sponsors
The ATP and ASLP are supported by the following partners and sponsors:
Partner organizations
The American Association of School Administrators
The American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education
The American Federation of Teachers
The National Association of Elementary School Principals
The National Association of Secondary School Principals
The National Education Association
The University Council for Educational Administration
Sponsors
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The National Education Association
About RAND and RAND Education
RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and
analysis. For more than four decades, RAND Education researchers have been providing objective analysis
to inform education policy in the United States and abroad. Sponsors of our research—including government agencies, foundations, and private-sector organizations—rely on us to inform policymaking in such
areas as
■ early childhood, K–12, higher, and special education
■ principals, teachers, and teaching
■ standards, assessment, and accountability
■ arts and arts education
■ school leadership, reform, and administration
■ strategic planning for education
■ educational equity
■ international education
■ out-of-school time.
In the area of K–12 education, our experts partner with policymakers, school systems, practitioners, and
other stakeholders to help improve education outcomes and systems and to increase access and equity.
Contact Us
If you would like additional information about the panels or would like to use the panels in your research,
please contact us at 310-451-6982 or [email protected], or visit the ATP website at
http://www.rand.org/education/projects/atp-aslp.html.
ED U C AT I O N
American Teacher Panel
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American School Leader Panel
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The American Teacher Panel and the American School Leader Panel