This symposium illustrates the special conference theme related to integrating complex data sets to inform prevention science by highlighting two recent NCER-funded projects that integrated NCES datasets to understand how features of the school environment (visible security measures, instructional practices reflecting Native language and culture) relate to student behavior and academic outcomes. In the first example, researchers integrated data from multiple waves of cross-sectional data from two large national surveys – the School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey and the School Survey on Crime & Safety (SSOCS) to determine whether school security activities are related to school safety and academic achievement. In the second example, researchers used two surveys from the National Indian Education Study (NIES) to explore instructional practices related to Native language and culture (NLC) and whether greater exposure to NLC is associated with better academic performance. These examples show how prevention researchers can use education data sets like those available through NCES to inform future development and testing of education interventions.
The symposium includes three papers. The first paper describes the longitudinal and cross-sectional data resources available from NCES. This paper will focus on those datasets most likely to be of interest to prevention scientists, how researchers may use NCES datasets to conduct several different types of “big data” linkages to facilitate complex analyses, and how researchers can access these NCES datasets. The second and third papers illustrate how such resources can be used to develop and test new theories related to prevention science using innovative statistical methods. Together, these three papers will introduce the SPR membership to the big education datasets available through NCES to address important questions in prevention and education research.