As with the 2003 state assessment, the sampling frame for public schools consisted of the Common Core of Data (CCD) file corresponding to the 2000–2001 school year. The CCD file provided the frame for all regular public, state-operated public, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Department of Defense domestic schools that were open during the 2000–2001 school year. Frame counts of schools and estimates of enrollment for the 2003 state assessment are provided in tabulations for grades 4 and 8 by jurisdiction.
The frame for private schools was developed from the 1999–2000 Private School Survey (PSS) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The 2001–2002 PSS was not available in time for 2003 NAEP frame development. Thus, the same frame of private schools was used for both 2002 and 2003 NAEP sampling. The PSS is a biennial mail survey of all private schools in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The PSS frame of schools comprises a list frame and an area frame. The list frame is an assembly of the 1997–98 PSS frame and more up-to-date lists from state education agencies, private school associations, and other easily accessible sources. To improve the coverage of the PSS list frame, the Census Bureau also conducted a survey to locate private schools in a random sample of geographic areas throughout the United States. The areas were single counties or groups of counties sampled from an area frame constructed from all counties in the nation. Within each selected area a complete list of private schools was gathered using information from the Yellow Pages, religious institutions, local education agencies, chambers of commerce, and local government offices. Schools not already on the list frame were identified and were added to the frame of private schools. A weighting component was computed by the Census Bureau so that area-frame schools would represent all schools absent from the list frame, not just those in the selected areas.