Tom Hoffer is a senior fellow in the Department of Education and Child Development. Hoffer has been with NORC for over 20 years, and brings over three decades of experience working on the design, execution, and analysis of education surveys. Most of Hoffer's analysis and writing has been oriented toward educational policy and program evaluation in K-12 and higher education. He is currently working on a study of housing and school quality and a project to link historic national education study samples to administrative data on health and labor force participation. From 1999 to 2019 Hoffer worked as a project research scientist for the National Science Foundation's longitudinal panel Survey of Doctorate Recipients and the Survey of Earned Doctorates, an annual census of all individuals receiving a first research doctorate from a U.S. academic institution. He recently directed national surveys of K-12 teachers’ instructional practices and students’ instructional experiences. Hoffer was the principal investigator for the NSF's Graduate Research Fellowship Program evaluation and the U.S. Department of Education's Growth Model Pilot Project evaluation, and directed the National Survey of Algebra Teachers for the U.S. Department of Education. He has also served on technical advisory groups for the National Center for Education Statistics' HS&B:2020, ELS:2002, PISA, and HLS:2009 projects.
Hoffer has led tasks of study design, including design of experiments; instrument development; data analysis; briefing of government officials; and report writing on several projects. He has several years of experience on projects in each of the main institutional areas of education: elementary, middle school, high school, college and graduate school, and the nexus of formal education and the labor force. Hoffer has extensive experience with designs and analyses of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) national longitudinal surveys, including Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Class 1998-1999 (ECLS), National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS-88), and High School & Beyond (HS&B).
From 1987-1994, Hoffer served as associate director of operations for the Longitudinal Study of American Youth (LSAY). The LSAY was a panel study of 6,000 students drawn from 50 pairs of public high schools and their primary middle school feeders. The study focused on factors affecting students' interest in and learning of science and mathematics and followed them through high school and into college and the labor force.
He has authored or co-authored several journal articles, books, technical reports, and conference papers on a wide range of educational topics, from early elementary mathematics education to the scientific productivity of doctoral scientists and engineers. In 1987, James S. Coleman and Hoffer were awarded the American Education Research Association's Outstanding Book of the Year award for Public and Private High Schools: The Impact of Communities.