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National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS)

National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS)

The National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS) is a nationwide sample survey of elementary and secondary schools and the principals and teachers who staff them. The survey is a primary source of information about what is happening in K–12 schools across the United States.

If you have been asked to participate in this survey, this site will help you verify that the survey came from the Census Bureau, verify that the person who called or came to your door is a Census Bureau employee, and inform you of how we protect your data.


The National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS) is a system of related questionnaires that collect data on the elementary and secondary education in the United States, including teaching and working conditions in our schools, as well as characteristics of the teachers and principals who staff them. The NTPS provides critical data to policy makers and researchers on school organization, staff evaluations, professional development, and other important education topics.

The NTPS is a redesign of the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), which the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) conducted from 1987 to 2011. The design of the NTPS is a product of three key goals coming out of the SASS program: flexibility, timeliness, and integration with other Department of Education collections. The NTPS collects data on core topics including teacher and principal preparation, classes taught, school characteristics, and demographics of the teacher and principal labor force every two to three years. In addition, each administration of NTPS contains rotating modules on important education topics such as: professional development, working conditions, and evaluation. This approach allows policy makers and researchers to assess trends on both stable and dynamic topics. The NTPS utilizes primarily internet and paper data collection instruments.

Types of Schools in NTPS

The NTPS is a large sample survey of America's elementary and secondary schools.

The NTPS consists of four questionnaires:

  • A Teacher Listing Form to obtain a list of teachers from each school. To reduce burden, a sample of teachers is selected from this list of all teachers at the school
  • A School Questionnaire that obtains information on the characteristics of the school
  • A Principal Questionnaire that collects information on the principal
  • A Teacher Questionnaire that collects information on the sampled teacher.

The NTPS design produces estimates at the national and state level and is designed to support analysis of a variety of subgroups including: elementary, middle, high, and combined; federal free or reduced-price lunch program; urban, suburban, rural, and town; and traditional public, public charter, and private school types.

Why is this survey important?

The purpose of the National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS) is to provide policy makers and researchers with relevant and timely data on the characteristics and conditions of America’s public, charter, and private K–12 schools and the professionals who work in them. The data collected permit detailed analyses of the characteristics of schools, principals, teachers, and students. The data also link the NTPS components, which enable researchers to examine the relationships among these elements of the education system. For example, researchers can study teacher attrition using information not only provided by teachers, but also from their principals.

The NTPS has been designed with input from state and local education agencies, school administrators, teachers, education policy makers, and researchers through the numerous organizations representing these various data providers and data users.

The data from the NTPS are used by Congress, the U.S. Department of Education, state education agencies, public school districts, and education research organizations to:

  1. Evaluate the effects of school workplace conditions, salaries, and training opportunities on the educational workforce;
  2. Assess school staffing practices and personnel policies; and
  3. Aid in the Department of Education’s program planning in the areas of teacher shortage, teaching policies, and teacher education.

What is the legal authority for conducting this survey?

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), within the U.S. Department of Education, is authorized to conduct this survey by the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (ESRA 2002, 20 U.S.C. §9543).

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved this survey. The OMB control number is 1850-0598 and the approval expiration date for the current collection (the 2020-21 NTPS) is 03/31/2023.

The U.S. Census Bureau conducts this survey on behalf of the NCES.

Why was I selected to be in this survey?

From all of the public and private K-12 schools in the United States, we selected a sample of about 10,000 public schools and 3,000 private schools to represent the nation for the 2020-21 NTPS. Your school happened to be one of those selected. Your responses will represent schools with similar demographics that were not selected for the survey.

How can I respond to this survey?

You can respond in one of the following ways:

  • Completing via the web survey(s)
  • Completing the paper form(s) mailed to you
  • By phone
  • In-person through communication with a Field Representative

You can get help by calling our toll-free number at 1-888-595-1338.  You may also email us at ntps@census.gov.

How long will it take to complete this survey?

While the surveys will vary in length, each questionnaire will take approximately 30 to 40 minutes to complete.

How can I verify that the person contacting me is a Census Bureau employee?

If you have received a letter requesting you to participate in the survey, a Census Bureau employee may contact you to remind you to complete the survey. He or she will always show you an official Census ID or provide you with his or her name and interviewer code to confirm employment with the Census Bureau.

To protect your privacy, the National Teacher and Principal Survey NEVER asks for:

  • your Social Security number
  • your personal information via email
  • money or donations
  • credit card information

To verify that the phone call or visit is legitimate, please call your Census Bureau regional office and give them the name and/or interviewer code. You can find contact information for your region at:

You can also verify the legitimacy of a call from the Census Bureau by visiting:

What if this survey is not relevant to my situation?

If you feel you received the NTPS in error, please contact the Census Bureau toll-free at 1-888-595-1338 or by emailing at ntps@census.gov.

Is participation mandatory?

Your participation is voluntary, but your responses are necessary to make the results of this study accurate and timely. We encourage you to participate in this voluntary survey.

This survey is a primary source of information about what is happening in K–12 schools across the United States. Only a small percentage of schools are selected to participate; therefore, your school is important for the success of this survey.

Can I be identified by my responses?

Please be assured that both the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Census Bureau follow strict procedures to protect the confidentiality of study participants. All of the information you provide may be used only for statistical purposes and may not be disclosed, or used, in identifiable form for any other purpose except as required by law (20 U.S.C. §9573 and 6 U.S.C. §151).

More information on how your privacy is respected is available here.

How do I know my responses are safe?

The responses that are collected from surveys conducted by the Census Bureau are encrypted both in transit and at rest on the Census Bureau’s servers. These servers are part of a stand-alone network that is not accessible by the Internet. These servers are constantly monitored for any attempts at intrusion.

What if I have additional questions, recommendations, or issues that I need resolved?

If your school has been selected to participate in the survey and you wish to speak to someone, please contact our telephone centers at 1-888-595-1338. Someone will be available to take you call from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm EST (Mon-Fri). The U.S. Census Bureau is also available to answer your questions via e-mail at: ntps@census.gov.

If you have any comments concerning the accuracy of the time estimate, suggestions for improving this collection, or comments or concerns about the contents or the status of your individual submission of this questionnaire, please e-mail: ntps@census.gov, or write directly to: National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS), National Center for Education Statistics, Potomac Center Plaza, 550 12th Street, SW, Room 4014, Washington, DC 20202.

The Census Bureau has a web page “Are You In A Survey” designed to answer additional questions you might have about being in a Census survey.

Page Last Revised - March 11, 2023
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