The 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education

Principal Investigator: 
Project Overview
Background & Purpose: 

The 2012 National Survey is designed to answer several research questions, among them:

  1. To what extent do science and mathematics instruction and on-going assessment mirror current understanding of learning?
  2. What influences teachers’ decisions about content and pedagogy?

The study will yield accurate, up-to-date measures of key elements of the science and mathematics education system, and identify trends in these areas over time. The study will collect data on teacher characteristics, including teacher content background and demographics; science and mathematics course offerings and enrollments; textbook/program usage; instructional strategies; formative assessment; and the influences of particular policies, e.g., No Child Left Behind legislation, on science and mathematics education.


This research takes place in elementary and secondary education settings.

Research Design: 

The research design for this project is cross-sectional and will generate evidence that is descriptive. Original data are collected using survey research [self-completion questionnaires]. Instruments of data collection include separate questionnaires for mathematics and science teachers and program heads.

National estimates will be provided for all data obtained from the school program and teacher questionnaires. Because most of the questions in this survey will call for categorical measures, such as types of courses or materials, frequency tabulations or percentage tables will be used to present the majority of the data. Data that have interval properties (e.g., class size, teacher age, and years teaching experience) will be presented with means and standard deviations. In addition, factor analysis will be used to create composite variables from individual items. These variables will also be reported with means and standard deviations.

Tests of statistical significance will be used to compare means of interval variables that appeared in earlier studies as well as the 2012 National Survey.


Findings will be added as they become available.