What are TELL construct composites?
The Teaching Empowering Leading and Learning (TELL) survey items measure eight constructs: Community Engagement and Support, Teacher Leadership, School Leadership, Managing Student Conduct, Use of Time, Professional Development, Facilities and Resources, and Instructional Practices and Support. Responses to the survey items for each construct are combined to create a construct composite. Construct composites provide a high-level overview of educators’ perceptions of each of the constructs and are useful for identifying broad trends in the data, such as areas of improvement over time or areas that may need attention.
How have they been computed in the past?
Construct composites are averages across a set of items that all measure some aspect of the same construct. For example, there are 8 TELL items that measure Use of Time in schools (e.g., Class sizes are reasonable such that teachers have the time available to meet the needs of all students,” and “Teachers have time available to collaborate with colleagues.”) The Use of Time construct composite is an average across all 8 time items.
Historically, NTC has computed construct composites for TELL clients based on the specific survey items included on their version of the TELL survey, including any items that may have been modified or added to suit a specific state or district context. In the past, construct composites were computed using all items on the survey that addressed the topic, including custom items.
 Pending item alignment with the core survey items. Custom items may have been omitted in the construct composites if they did not load well with the core items.
How will they be computed beginning in 2018?
Based on the best and most current data available, beginning in 2018 NTC will compute construct composites using a core set of survey items for each construct with a demonstrable impact on important outcomes for schools. Core items for each construct were chosen based on many years of analyses of TELL data and student achievement and teacher retention data. Most recently, NTC and Dr. Richard Ingersoll at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education released the teacher working conditions report School Leadership Counts. Based on data from 25,000 schools in 16 states, this report summarized the relationship between working conditions and school outcomes using TELL survey data from one million educators. Results of these analyses informed the item selection for the new construct composites. The new construct composites will be longitudinally consistent and comparable across clients.
What are the implications for NCTWCS?
For the North Carolina Teacher Working Conditions Survey (NCTWCS), several state-specific items will be dropped from the computation of the composites. One key difference between composite calculations in the past and those forthcoming for 2018 is the calculation of the Instructional Practices and Support composite. This includes three state-specific items that will no longer be included in the Instructional Practices and Support construct: “State assessment data are available in time to impact instructional practices,” “State assessment provide schools with data that can help improve teaching,” and “State assessments accurately gauge students’ understanding of standards.”
What if I want more details?
For more information on the composite calculations and the items included in each construct, please download the TELL Construct Composites Handout .