In 2014, the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA) assessed student achievement at Year 4 and Year 8 in two areas of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) – English: reading and social studies. This report examines a range of contextual data collected from students, teachers and principals as part of the 2014 NMSSA study of social studies. The report supplements Social Studies 2014 – Overview and the priority learner group reports in social studies for Māori, Pasifika and students with special education needs.For this report, we draw on evidence collected through questionnaires from students, teachers and principals. The report provides background information relevant to understanding the schools’ social studies programmes, the level of teachers’ interest in and self-efficacy teaching social studies, and students’ experiences at school and any associations with student achievement. The report is written descriptively to outline the types of responses typical of the students, teachers and principals who made up the sample. It is important to note that two of these groups – the teachers and principals – are not necessarily representative of the corresponding groups in the general population. In addition, the students, teachers and principals are reporting their perceptions based on the meaning they make of the questions and their ability to recall information in order to make a response. Taken together, this means care should be applied when interpreting and generalising from the findings. Overall, however, the findings do provide indications and patterns that are useful when seeking to understand social studies as part of the social sciences learning area.