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Participation Rate Requirements

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the National Assessment Governing Board have established participation rate standards that states and jurisdictions are required to meet in order to have their results published.

  • The weighted participation rate for the initial school sample must be greater than or equal to 85 percent for results to be published. Prior to 2003, the requirement was 70 percent.

An additional standard has also been established that requires annotation of published results for states and jurisdictions whose sample participation rates, among one or more particular kinds of schools, are low enough to raise concerns about their representativeness.

This standard requires that a state or jurisdiction with otherwise adequately weighted school participation will receive a notation if the nonparticipating schools include a class of schools with similar characteristics, which together account for more than 5% of the state or jurisdiction's total weighted sample of schools. The classes of schools from which a state or jurisdiction need minimum school participation levels are as follows:

  • degree of urbanization;
  • minority enrollment; and
  • school mean on a relevant state achievement test (or median household income of the area in which the school is located, in the case that there is no state achievement test for that grade and subject).

For more technical information on participation rate standards, see these sources:


Last updated 03 September 2012 (NB)
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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education