Achievement levels: National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) achievement levels are set through a National Assessment Governing Board process and define what students should know and be able to do at different levels of performance. The NAEP achievement levels are Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. The definitions of these levels, which apply across all grades and subject areas, are as follows:
Basic: This level denotes partial mastery of prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at each grade.
Proficient: This level represents solid academic performance for each grade assessed. Students reaching this level have demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter, including subject-matter knowledge, application of such knowledge to real-world situations, and analytical skills appropriate to the subject matter.
Advanced: This level signifies superior performance at each grade assessed.
Alternative school: A public elementary/secondary school that (1) addresses needs of students that typically cannot be met in a regular school, (2) provides nontraditional education, (3) serves as an adjunct to a regular school, or (4) falls outside the categories of regular, special education, or vocational education. Some examples of alternative schools are schools for potential dropouts; residential treatment centers for substance abuse (if they provide elementary or secondary education); schools for chronic truants; and schools for students with behavioral problems.
Associate’s degree: An award that normally requires at least 2 but less than 4 years of full-time-equivalent college work.
Bachelor’s degree: A degree granted for the successful completion of a baccalaureate program of studies, usually requiring at least 4 years (or the equivalent) of full-time college-level study.
Catholic school: Catholic schools are categorized according to governance as parochial, diocesan, or private schools.
Charter school: A publicly funded school that, in accordance with an enabling statute, has been granted a charter exempting it from selected state or local rules and regulations. A public charter school may be a newly created school, or it may previously have been a traditional public or private school. In return for funding and autonomy, the charter school must meet accountability standards. A school’s charter is typically reviewed every 3 to 5 years and can be revoked if guidelines on curriculum and management are not followed or standards are not met. Charter schools provide free public elementary and/or secondary education and can be administered by regular school districts, state education agencies (SEAs), or chartering organizations. See also Public school.
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP): A taxonomic coding scheme for secondary and postsecondary instructional programs. It is intended to facilitate the organization, collection, and reporting of program data using classifications that capture the majority of reportable data. The CIP is the accepted federal government statistical standard on instructional program classifications and is used in a variety of education information surveys and databases.
College: A postsecondary education institution.
Combined school: A school offering both elementary and secondary education. A combined school typically has one or more of grades kindergarten (K) through 6 and one or more of grades 9–12. For example, schools with grades K–12, 6–9, or 1–12 are classified as combined schools. Alternatively, according to 2007–08 Schools and Staffing Survey, defined as a school with at least one grade lower than 7 and at least one grade higher than 8; schools with only ungraded classes are included with combined schools.
Constant dollars: Dollar amounts that have been adjusted by means of price and cost indexes to eliminate inflationary factors and allow for direct comparison across years.
Consumer Price Index (CPI): This price index measures the average change in the cost of a fixed-market basket of goods and services purchased by consumers.
Current expenditures: For elementary/secondary schools, these include all charges for current outlays plus capital outlays and interest on school debt. For postsecondary institutions, these include current outlays plus capital outlays. For the government, these include charges net of recoveries and other correcting transactions, other than retirement of debt, investment in securities, extension of credit, or agency transactions. Also, government expenditures include only external transactions, such as the provision of prerequisites or other payments in kind. Aggregates for groups of governments exclude intergovernmental transactions among the governments. Examples of current expenditures include salaries for school personnel, fixed charges, student transportation, book and materials, and energy costs. Expenditures for state administration are excluded.
Disabilities: Any of the disabilities classified in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), which collects information on students with disabilities as part of the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Categories of disabilities include autism, deaf-blindness, developmental delay, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, specific learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, traumatic brain injury, visual impairments, and preschool disability. (For more detailed definitions of these categories, see the part B and C data dictionaries at www.ideadata.org/618DataCollection.asp.)
Doctor’s degree: An earned degree carrying the title of Doctor. The Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) is the highest academic degree and requires mastery within a field of knowledge and demonstrated ability to perform scholarly research. Other doctor’s degrees are awarded for fulfilling specialized requirements in professional fields, such as education (Ed.D.), musical arts (D.M.A.), business administration (D.B.A.), and engineering (D. Eng. or D.E.S.). Many doctor’s degrees in both academic and professional fields require an earned master’s degree as a prerequisite. Degrees formerly referred to as first-professional degrees, such as M.D., J.D., and D.D.S., are now included under this heading. See also First-professional degree.
Dropout: The term is used to describe both the event of leaving school before completing high school and the status of an individual who is not in school and who is not a high school completer. High school completers include both graduates of school programs as well as those completing high school through equivalency programs such as the General Educational Development (GED) program. Transferring from a public school to a private school is not regarded as a dropout event. A person who drops out of school may later return and graduate but is called a “dropout” at the time he or she leaves school. Measures to describe these behaviors include the event dropout rate (or the closely related school persistence rate), the status dropout rate, and the high school completion rate. See also Status dropout rate, Appendix C – Commonly Used Measures.
Early childhood school: Early childhood program schools serve students in prekindergarten, kindergarten, transitional (or readiness) kindergarten, and/or transitional first (or prefirst) grade.
Education specialist/professional diploma: A certificate of advanced graduate studies that advance educators in their instructional and leadership skills beyond the master’s level of competence.
Elementary school: A school with one or more of grades K–6 that does not have any grade higher than grade 8. For example, schools with grades K–6, 1–3, or 6–8 are classified as elementary.
Elementary/secondary school: Elementary/secondary schools include regular schools (i.e., schools that are part of state and local school systems and private elementary/ secondary schools, both religiously affiliated and nonsectarian); alternative schools; vocational education schools; and special education schools.
Employment status: Employment status includes employed (either full or part time), unemployed (looking for work or on layoff), or not in the labor force (due to being retired, having unpaid employment, or some other reason).
According to the October Current Population Survey (CPS), employed persons are persons age 16 or older who, during the reference week, (1) did any work at all (at least 1 hour) as paid employees or (2) were not working but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent because of vacation, illness, bad weather, child care problems, maternity or paternity leave, labor-management dispute, job training, or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs.
English language learner: A person for whom English is a second language and who has not yet attained proficiency in the English language. See also Limited- English proficient.
Expenditures: Charges incurred, whether paid or unpaid. Expenditure types include the following:
Current expenditures: Short-term spending that is fully expensed in the fiscal period in which it is incurred. Current expenditures are in contrast to capital expenditures, which refer to spending on long-term assets that are capitalized and amortized over their useful life. See also Current expenditures.
Instructional expenditures (elementary/secondary): Current expenditures for activities directly associated with the interaction between teachers and students. These include teacher salaries and benefits, supplies (such as textbooks), and purchased instructional services.
Expenditures per student: Charges incurred for a particular period of time divided by a student unit of measure, such as enrollment, average daily attendance, or average daily membership. See also Appendix C – Finances.
Faculty: Persons identified by the institution as such and whose assignments include conducting instruction, research, or public service as a principal activity (or activities). They may hold academic rank titles of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, instructor, lecturer, or the equivalent of any of those academic ranks. Faculty may also include the chancellor/ president, provost, vice provosts, deans, directors or the equivalent, as well as associate deans, assistant deans, and executive officers of academic departments (chairpersons, heads, or the equivalent) if their principal activity is instruction combined with research and/or public service. Graduate, instruction, and research assistants are not included in this category.
Family income: Family income includes all monetary income from all sources (including jobs, businesses, interest, rent, and social security payments) over a 12-month period. The income of nonrelatives living in the household is excluded, but the income of all family members age 15 or older (age 14 or older in years prior to 1989), including those temporarily living outside of the household, is included. In the October CPS, family income is determined from a single question asked of the household respondent.
Financial aid: Grants, loans, assistantships, scholarships, fellowships, tuition waivers, tuition discounts, veteran’s benefits, employer aid (tuition reimbursement), and other monies (other than from relatives/friends) provided to students to help them meet expenses. This includes Title IV subsidized and unsubsidized loans made directly to students.
First-professional degree: As of fall 2010, the term first-professional degree is no longer used as reporting category in postsecondary education data collection. Degrees formerly reported under this category are now reported as a doctor’s degree or master’s degree. For example, Medical Doctorate (M.D.), Juris Prudence Doctorate (J.D.), Pharmacy Doctorate (Pharm.D), Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M) are now reported as doctor’s degree, while Master’s of Divinity (M.Div), Master’s of Rabbinical Studies (M.H.L), and Master’s of Law (L.L.M.) are reported as master’s degree. See also Doctor’s degree and Master’s degree.
Four-year postsecondary institution: A postsecondary education institution that can award a bachelor’s degree or higher. See also Postsecondary education and Appendix C – Commonly Used Measures.
Free or reduced-price lunch: See National School Lunch Program.
Full-time enrollment: The number of students enrolled in postsecondary education courses with a total credit load equal to at least 75 percent of the normal full-time course load.
Full-time-equivalent (FTE) enrollment: For institutions of higher education, enrollment of full-time students, plus the full-time equivalent of part-time students. The full-time equivalent of the part-time students is estimated using different factors depending on the level and control of institution and level of student.
GED certificate: This award is received following successful completion of the General Educational Development (GED) test. The GED program, sponsored by the American Council on Education, enables individuals to demonstrate that they have acquired a level of learning comparable to that of high school graduates. See also High school equivalency certificate.
Graduate: An individual who has received formal recognition for the successful completion of a prescribed program of studies.
Gross domestic product (GDP): Gross national product (GNP) less net property income from abroad. Both GNP and GDP aggregate only the incomes of residents of a nation, corporate and individual, derived directly from the current production of goods and services by individuals, businesses, and government; gross private domestic investment in infrastructure; and total exports of goods and services. The goods and services included are largely those bought for final use (excluding illegal transactions) in the market economy. A number of inclusions, however, represent imputed values, the most important of which is rental value of owner-occupied housing.
Head Start: A local public or private nonprofit or for-profit entity designated by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families to operate a Head Start program to serve children age 3 to compulsory school age, pursuant to section 641(b) and (d) of the Head Start Act.
High school: A secondary school offering the final years of high school study necessary for graduation, in which the lowest grade is not lower than grade 9. Usually includes grades 10, 11, and 12 or grades 9, 10, 11, and 12. Alternatively, according to the 2007–08 Schools and Staffing Survey, defined as a school with no grade lower than 7 and at least one grade higher than 8.
High school completer: An individual who has been awarded a high school diploma or an equivalent credential, including a General Educational Development (GED) credential.
High school diploma: A formal document regulated by the state certifying the successful completion of a prescribed secondary school program of studies. In some states or communities, high school diplomas are differentiated by type, such as an academic diploma, a general diploma, or a vocational diploma.
High school equivalency certificate: A formal document certifying that an individual has met the state requirements for high school graduation equivalency by obtaining satisfactory scores on an approved examination and meeting other performance requirements (if any) set by a state education agency or other appropriate body. One particular version of this certificate is the General Educational Development (GED) test. The GED test is a comprehensive test used primarily to appraise the educational development of students who have not completed their formal high school education and who may earn a high school equivalency certificate by achieving satisfactory scores. GEDs are awarded by the states or other agencies, and the test is developed and distributed by the GED Testing Service of the American Council on Education.
Hours worked per week: According to the October Current Population Study, the number of hours a respondent worked in all jobs in the week prior to the survey interview.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): IDEA is a federal law requiring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to more than 6.8 million eligible infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities. Infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth–age 2) and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA, Part C. Children and youth (ages 3–21) receive special education and related services under IDEA, Part B.
Inflation: A rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time, which generally corresponds to a decline in the real value of money or a loss of purchasing power. See also Constant dollars and Purchasing Power Parity indexes.
Limited-English proficient: Refers to an individual who was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English, or who comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on the individual’s level of English language proficiency. It may also refer to an individual who is migratory, whose native language is a language other than English, and who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant; and whose difficulties in speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language may be sufficient to deny the individual the ability to meet the state’s proficient level of achievement on state assessments as specified under the No Child Left Behind Act, the ability to successfully achieve in classrooms where the language of instruction is English, or the opportunity to participate fully in society. See also English language learner.
Magnet school or program: A special school or program designed to reduce, prevent, or eliminate racial isolation and/or to provide an academic or social focus on a particular theme.
Master’s degree: A degree awarded for successful completion of a program generally requiring 1 or 2 years of full-time college-level study beyond the bachelor’s degree. One type of master’s degree, which includes the Master of Arts degree, or M.A., and the Master of Science degree, or M.S., is awarded in the liberal arts and sciences for advanced scholarship in a subject field or discipline and for demonstrated ability to perform scholarly research. A second type of master’s degree is
awarded for the completion of a professionally oriented program—for example, an M.Ed in education, an M.B.A.
in business administration, an M.F.A. in fine arts, an M.M. in music, an M.S.W. in social work, or an M.P.A. in public administration. A third type of master’s degree is awarded in professional fields for study beyond the first-professional degree—for example, the Master of Laws (LL.M.) and Master of Science (M.S.) in various medical specializations.
Median earnings: The amount which divides the income distribution into two equal groups, half having income above that amount and half having income below that amount. Earnings include all wage and salary income. Unlike mean earnings, median earnings either do not change or change very little in response to extreme observations. The March Current Population Study collects information on earnings from individuals who were full-year workers (individuals who were employed 50 or more weeks in
the previous year) and full-time workers (those who were usually employed 35 or more hours per week).
Middle school: A school with no grade lower than 5 and no grade higher than 8.
Montessori school: Montessori schools provide instruction using Montessori teaching methods.
National School Lunch Program: Established by President Truman in 1946, the program is a federally assisted meal program operated in public and private nonprofit schools and residential child care centers. To be eligible for free lunch, a student must be from a household with an income at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty guideline; to be eligible for reduced-price lunch, a student must be from a household with an income between 130 percent and 185 percent of the federal poverty guideline. See also Appendix C – Commonly Used Measures.
Nonresident alien: A person who is not a citizen of the United States, who is in this country on a temporary basis, and who does not have the right to remain indefinitely.
Nonsectarian school: Nonsectarian schools do not have a religious orientation or purpose and are categorized as regular, special program emphasis, or special education schools. See also Regular school, Special program emphasis school, and Special education school.
Nursery school: An instructional program for groups of children during the year or years preceding kindergarten, which provides educational experiences under the direction of teachers. See also Prekindergarten and Preschool.
Other religious school: Other religious schools have a religious orientation or purpose, but are not Roman Catholic. Other religious schools are categorized according to religious association membership as Conservative Christian, other affiliated, or unaffiliated.
Part-time enrollment: The number of students enrolled in postsecondary education courses with a total credit load of less than 75 percent of the normal full-time credit load.
Postbaccalaureate enrollment: The number of students with a bachelor’s degree who are enrolled in graduate-level courses. See also Doctor’s degree and Master’s degree.
Postsecondary education: The provision of a formal instructional program whose curriculum is designed primarily for students who are beyond the compulsory age for high school. This includes programs whose purpose is academic, vocational, and continuing professional education, and excludes vocational and adult basic education programs. See also Appendix C – Commonly Used Measures.
Prekindergarten: Preprimary education for children typically ages 3–4 who have not yet entered kindergarten. It may offer a program of general education or special education and may be part of a collaborative effort with Head Start.
Preschool: An instructional program enrolling children generally younger than 5 years of age and organized to provide children with educational experiences under professionally qualified teachers during the year or years immediately preceding kindergarten (or prior to entry into elementary school when there is no kindergarten). See also Nursery school and Prekindergarten.
Primary school: A school with at least one grade lower than 5 and no grade higher than 8.
Private institution: An institution that is controlled by an individual or agency other than a state, a subdivision of a state, or the federal government; that is usually not supported primarily by public funds; and that is not operated by publicly elected or appointed officials. See also Appendix C – Commonly Used Measures. Types of private institutions include:
Private for-profit institution: A private institution in which the individual(s) or agency in control receives compensation other than wages, rent, or other expenses for the assumption of risk.
Private nonprofit institution: A private institution in which the individual(s) or agency in control receives no compensation, other than wages, rent, or other expenses for the assumption of risk. These include both independent nonprofit institutions and those affiliated with a religious organization.
Private schools: Private elementary/secondary schools surveyed by the Private School Universe Survey (PSS) are assigned to one of three major categories (Catholic, other religious, or nonsectarian) and, within each major category, one of three subcategories based on the school’s religious affiliation provided by respondents.
Catholic: Catholic schools are categorized according to governance, provided by Catholic school respondents, into parochial, diocesan, and private schools.
Other religious: Other religious schools have a religious orientation or purpose, but are not Roman Catholic. Other religious schools are categorized according to religious association membership, provided by respondents, into Conservative Christian, other affiliated, and unaffiliated schools. Conservative Christian schools are those “Other religious” schools with membership in at least one of four associations: Accelerated Christian Education, American Association of Christian Schools, Association of Christian Schools International, or Oral Roberts University Education Fellowship. Affiliated schools are those “Other religious” schools not classified as Conservative Christian with membership in at least 1 of 11 associations—Association of Christian Teachers
and Schools, Christian Schools International, Evangelical Lutheran Education Association, Friends Council on Education, General Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Islamic School League of America, National Association of Episcopal Schools, National Christian School Association, National Society for Hebrew Day Schools, Solomon Schechter Day Schools, and Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools— or indicating membership in “other religious school associations.” Unaffiliated schools are those “Other religious” schools that have a religious orientation or purpose, but are not classified as Conservative Christian or affiliated.
Nonsectarian: Nonsectarian schools do not have a religious orientation or purpose and are categorized according to program emphasis, provided by respondents, into regular, special emphasis, and special education schools. Regular schools are those that have a regular elementary/secondary or early childhood program emphasis. Special emphasis schools are those that have a Montessori, vocational/technical, alternative, or special program emphasis. Special education schools are those that have a special education program emphasis.
Property tax: The sum of money collected from a tax levied against the value of property.
Public institution: A postsecondary education institution whose programs and activities are operated by publicly elected or appointed school officials and which is supported primarily by public funds. See also Appendix C – Commonly Used Measures.
Public school: A school that provides educational services for at least one of grades K–12 (or comparable ungraded levels), has one or more teachers to give instruction, has an assigned administrator, receives public funds as primary support, and is operated by an education or chartering agency. Public schools include regular, special education, vocational/technical, alternative, and charter schools. They also include schools in juvenile detention centers, schools located on military bases and operated by the Department of Defense, and Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools operated by local public school districts. See also Special education school, Vocational school, Alternative school, Charter school, and Traditional public school.
Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) indexes: PPP exchange rates, or indexes, are the currency exchange rates that equalize the purchasing power of different currencies, meaning that when a given sum of money is converted into different currencies at the PPP exchange rates, it will buy the same basket of goods and services in all countries. PPP indexes are the rates of currency conversion that eliminate the difference in price levels among countries. Thus, when expenditures on gross domestic product (GDP) for different countries are converted into a common currency by means of PPP indexes, they are expressed at the same set of international prices, so that comparisons among countries reflect only differences in the volume of goods and services purchased.
Regular school: A public elementary/secondary school providing instruction and education services that does not focus primarily on special education, vocational/technical education, or alternative education, or on any of the particular themes associated with magnet/special program emphasis schools.
Revenues: Funds that are appropriated to schools and education institutions. See also Appendix C – Finance.
Salary: The total amount regularly paid or stipulated to be paid to an individual, before deductions, for personal services rendered while on the payroll of a business or organization.
Secondary school: A school with one or more of grades 7–12 that does not have any grade lower than grade 7. For example, schools with grades 9–12, 7–9, 10–12, or 7–8 are classified as secondary.
Special education school: An elementary/secondary school that (1) focuses primarily on special education, including instruction for any of the following groups of students: hard of hearing, deaf, speech impaired, health impaired, orthopedically impaired, intellectually disabled, seriously emotionally disturbed, multi-handicapped, visually handicapped, deaf and blind, and the learning disabled; and (2) adapts curriculum, materials, or instruction for students served.
Special program emphasis school: A science/mathematics school, a performing arts high school, a foreign language immersion school, and a talented/gifted school are examples of schools that offer a special program emphasis.
STEM fields: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields of study that are considered to be of particular relevance to advanced societies. For the purposes of The Condition of Education 2012, STEM fields include agriculture and natural resources, biological and biomedical sciences, computer and information sciences and support services, engineering and engineering technologies, mathematics and statistics, physical sciences, and science technologies.
Student membership: Student membership is an annual headcount of students enrolled in school on October 1 or the school day closest to that date. The Common Core of Data (CCD) allows a student to be reported for only a single school or agency. For example, a vocational school (identified as a “shared time” school) may provide classes for students from a number of districts and show no membership.
Title I school: A school designated under appropriate state and federal regulations as a high-poverty school that is eligible for participation in programs authorized by Title I of the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, P.L. 107-110.
Title IV institution: An institution that has a written agreement with the Secretary of Education that allows the institution to participate in any of the Title IV federal student financial assistance programs (other than the State Student Incentive Grant [SSIG] and the National Early Intervention Scholarship and Partnership [NEISP] programs).
Traditional public school: Traditional public schools are publicly funded schools other than public charter schools. See also Public school and Charter school.
Tuition: The amount of money charged to students for instructional services. Tuition may be charged per term, per course, or per credit.
Two-year postsecondary institution: A postsecondary education institution that does not confer bachelor’s or higher degrees, but does provide 2-year programs that result in a certificate or an associate’s degree, or 2-year programs that fulfill part of the requirements for a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year institution. See also Postsecondary education and Appendix C – Commonly Used Measures.
Undergraduate student: A student enrolled in a 4- or 5-year bachelor’s degree program, an associate’s degree program, or a vocational or technical program below the baccalaureate level.
Vocational school: A secondary school that focuses primarily on vocational, technical, or career education and provides education and training in one or more occupations. It may be part of a regular district (along with academic schools) or in a vocational district (serving more than one academic school district).