Skip to main content

Tom Hoffer

Pronouns: He/Him

Tom is a nationally recognized expert in the design and execution of policy research in K-12 and higher education.

Tom is a senior fellow in the Education & Child Development department. Tom has been with NORC for over 25 years and brings over three decades of experience working on the design, execution, and analysis of education surveys. He has led tasks of study design, including design of experiments; instrument development; data analysis; briefing of government officials; and report writing on several projects. He has several years of experience on projects in each of the main institutional areas of education: elementary, middle school, high school, college and graduate school, and the nexus of formal education and the labor force. He has authored or co-authored several journal articles, books, technical reports, and conference papers on a wide range of educational topics, from early elementary mathematics education to the scientific productivity of doctoral scientists and engineers.

From 1999 to 2019 Tom worked as a project research scientist for the National Science Foundation’s longitudinal panel Survey of Doctorate Recipients and the Survey of Earned Doctorates, an annual census of all individuals receiving a first research doctorate from a U.S. academic institution. He recently directed national surveys of K-12 teachers’ instructional practices and students’ instructional experiences. Tom was the principal investigator for the NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program evaluation and the U.S. Department of Education’s Growth Model Pilot Project evaluation, and directed the National Survey of Algebra Teachers for the U.S. Department of Education. He has also served on technical advisory groups for the National Center for Education Statistics’ HS&B:2020, ELS:2002, PISA, and HLS:2009 projects.

From 1987-1994, Tom served as associate director of operations for the Longitudinal Study of American Youth (LSAY). The LSAY was a panel study of 6,000 students drawn from 50 pairs of public high schools and their primary middle school feeders. The study focused on factors affecting students’ interest in and learning of science and mathematics and followed them through high school and into college and the labor force.

Tom began working at NORC in 1980 while in graduate school as a research assistant to James S. Coleman on the High School & Beyond project. They co-authored several journal articles and book chapters, and two monographs comparing American public and private high schools.



University of Chicago


University of Chicago


Beloit College

Honors & Awards

Outstanding Book Award | 1988

American Education Research Association

Project Contributions

The Survey of Earned Doctorates

The most comprehensive annual census of new research doctorate recipients from U.S. institutions


National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics

National Survey of Students’ Personalized Learning Experiences

Exploring how strategies to promote personalized learning are working in the classroom


International Association for K-12 Online Education

Graduate Research Fellowship Program Pilot Project

Innovating data collection methods to track National Science Foundation research fellowship outcomes


National Science Foundation

Survey of U.S. History Teachers

Survey of U.S. history teachers in nine states to inform civic discussions about teaching U.S. history


American Historical Association