Pia Peltola is a principal researcher at AIR with more than 14 years of experience in conducting and managing small- and large-scale survey projects. Most of Dr. Peltola's projects have focused on K-12 education (e.g., school climate, social and emotional learning, teacher professional development), but she also provides technical support across content areas on various survey-related issues. This support includes writing questionnaire items and designing survey instruments based on research evidence; designing protocols and procedures for focus group and cognitive interview studies; developing study designs for data collections on different modes; and processing, analyzing, and reporting qualitative and quantitative data. Dr. Peltola also provides technical assistance to local and state education agencies across the country on data collection, analysis, and reporting.
Currently, Dr. Peltola serves as a survey specialist for the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments, funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS). The survey team she leads manages all survey- and data-related issues, including training and technical assistance for OSHS grantees and users of U.S. Department of Education’s web-based School Climate Surveys, as well as management and improvement of the online data collection and reporting platform for ED’s school climate surveys.
Examples of Dr. Peltola’s past work include a research-practice partnership with Oklahoma Rural Schools Research Alliance that was funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. The partnership developed a teacher professional development survey. Dr. Peltola supported the Alliance in study design; questionnaire development and testing; state-wide, online data collection; analysis; and reporting. Dr. Peltola has also worked on several online school climate and social emotional learning surveys for education agencies across the country and led analytic studies, such as U.S. Department of Education’s study on School Improvement Grant recipients. For this study, Dr. Peltola led the team that created national- and state-level reports and a public-use data file. Over the years, Dr. Peltola has conducted and directed numerous focus groups with youth and adults, as well as cognitive interviews.
Dr. Peltola has worked on several studies for the National Center for Education Statistics, including the School and Staffing Survey (SASS), a national, multi-mode study that covers topics related to teachers and other school personnel. Dr. Peltola led the team that supported every aspect of the SASS study, from questionnaire design and cognitive interviews to administration of the surveys, production of data files, and writing of reports. In addition to surveys and analyses, Dr. Peltola’s past projects include a development of an online food finder, which is a search tool that helped Washington DC students locate free summer meal programs and other DC residents find farmers markets, healthy corner stores, and other healthy food sources. Since 2017, Dr. Peltola has served on the national Transparency Initiative Coordinating Committee of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR).