To survey the states on their education policies, the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center sent surveys to the chief state school officers in all 50 states and to the superintendent of the District of Columbia public schools. The research center mailed the survey, which contained four sections—standards and accountability, assessment, efforts to improve teacher quality, and school climate—on July 27, 2005; electronic copies were sent by e-mail on July 28. In several states, the section on efforts to improve teacher quality also was sent to the state’s teacher-standards board.
Respondents were asked to answer the survey questions and provide appropriate documentation, such as state statutes, administrative rules, or Web site addresses, to verify that the reported policies are in place for the 2005-06 school year. To ensure that answers were accurate and that consistent standards were applied across the states, the EPE Research Center researchers carefully evaluated each state’s responses and documentary evidence. That often required further phone conversations with the individuals who had completed the survey.
At the end of the eight-week vetting process, on Sept. 27, the research center sent each chief state school officer a completed survey indicating the state’s initial response and the final determination by the research center, based on the available documentation. Officials in the state were asked to review the final answers and provide any changes or corrections with appropriate documentation.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia provided responses to the survey. The EPE Research Center thanks all of the individuals who generously contributed their time and effort to provide information for the survey. Quality Counts’ editors and research staff hope this examination of policies across the states will inform the efforts of researchers, legislators, policymakers, and practitioners.