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Apr 6 -- The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) invites comments by June 5, 2023 regarding the planned School Pulse Panel 2023–24 Data Collection.

The School Pulse Panel (SPP) is a data collection originally designed to collect voluntary responses from a nationally representative sample of public schools to better understand how schools, students, and educators are responding to the ongoing stressors of the coronavirus pandemic. It is conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), part of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), within the United States Department of Education, in cooperation with the U.S. Census Bureau. Due to the immediate need to collect information from schools during the pandemic to satisfy the requirement of Executive Order 14000, an emergency clearance was issued to develop and field the first several monthly collections of the SPP in 2021, and a full review of the SPP data collection was completed in 2022 (OMB #1850–0969).

SPP's innovative design and timely dissemination of findings have been used and cited frequently among Department of Education senior leadership, the White House Domestic Policy Counsel, the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Congressional deliberations, and the media. The ongoing, growing interest by stakeholders has resulted in the request for dedicated funding to create an established NCES quick-turnaround data collection vehicle, with the goal of standing up a post-pandemic panel to begin with the 2023–24 school year.

One notable difference for the next SPP study will be the potential addition of a district-level survey. The purpose of the district component is two-fold: (1) to collect data on topics that schools cannot report about such as facilities, supply chain issues and finances; and (2) to reduce burden on schools by allowing district staff to report on district policies and school level data tracked at the district. The district component will enhance the breadth of data that can be collected in SPP.

For the 2023–24 school year, the survey may ask school and district staff about a range of topics, including but not limited to instructional mode offered; enrollment counts of subgroups of students for various subject interests; strategies to address learning recovery; safe and healthy school mitigation strategies; mental health services; use of technology; information on staffing, nutrition services, absenteeism, usage of federal funds, facilities, and overall principal and district staff experiences. Some new content will be rotated in and out monthly.

As in previous waves, for SPP 2023–24 roughly 5,000 (4,000 in an initial sample and 1,000 in a reserve sample) public elementary, middle, high, and combined-grade schools will be randomly selected to participate in a panel. It is expected these schools will come from roughly 3,000 districts with a reserve sample of 300 districts to replace district refusals. The goal is national representation from 1,000 responding schools and districts to report national estimates. School and district staff will be asked to provide requested data as frequently as monthly during the 23–24 school year. This approach provides the ability to collect detailed information on various topics while also assessing changes over time for items that are repeated. Given the high demand for data collection, the content of the survey will change monthly.

This request is to conduct the SPP 2023–24 main study data collection activities, including instruments for the first quarter of monthly collections, for 60-day and 30-day public comment. Some documents will be revised for the 30-day public comment period. Subsequent quarterly content submissions will be submitted for 30-day public comment periods.

NCES School Pulse Panel: https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/spp/    
Census: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/school-pulse-panel.html
Draft survey instrument and technical documentation: https://www.regulations.gov/docket/ED-2023-SCC-0060/document
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-07239

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