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National Center for Education Statistics Seminar Series

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Maintaining a knowledgeable workforce of statisticians through continuing education
  • Client
    National Center for Education Statistics
  • Dates
    2015 - 2020


Maintaining a skilled staff of statistical experts requires new opportunities to gain knowledge.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the premier federal agency that develops, collects, and disseminates statistics related to education, is charged with finding solutions to novel problems that arise in the collection and analysis of education data. As such, NCES aims to maintain a state-of-the-art workforce of senior statisticians, senior survey methodologists, and senior subject matter experts with expertise across a range of data collection and analysis methods. Yet obtaining a state-of-the art workforce and maintaining it are two separate tasks. The latter requires continual education opportunities tailored to education researchers.


NORC organized and supported statistical seminars and short courses for NCES.

NCES sought expert help from NORC at the University of Chicago to develop and host a program with specialized training, formal education, and advanced professional learning intended to enhance NCES staff member’s professional knowledge, competence, skill, and effectiveness. 

NORC supported NCES by providing logistical support for seminars and short courses on a wide range of statistical and survey research methods topics, often on the cutting edge of the survey research profession.

NORC melded its data collection and analysis expertise with its professional network of nationally recognized technical experts to offer training opportunities to NCES staff members. Specifically, NORC organized short courses and seminars to enhance NCES staff’s knowledge of state-of-the-art technical practices. We carefully coordinated the sessions with NCES to ensure that staff needs were met, scheduled events fell at appropriate times of the year, and lecturers’ content spoke specifically to education researchers.


NCES staffers benefitted from more than 75 sessions organized by NORC.

NORC provided seminars and short courses to NCES staff from January 2015 to March 2020. The more than 75 sessions addressed topics such as:

  • Big data and machine learning for social and survey researchers
  • Statistical inference: a world beyond p < 0.05
  • Communicating data clearly with data visualization
  • Bayesian statistics
  • Web scraping in survey research
  • Combining probability and nonprobability samples
  • Psychometrics
  • Meta-analysis
  • Visual design of questionnaires
  • Usability testing, total survey error
  • Nonresponse bias analyses
  • Mixed-mode surveys
  • Variance estimation
  • Imputation methods
  • Multilevel modeling
  • Factor analysis
  • Longitudinal inference
  • Web survey paradata
  • Data mining
  • Data collection with mobile devices

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