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Status of Education in Rural America
NCES 2007-040
June 2007

Appendix B. Glossary



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Advanced Placement (AP) course
A course within the Advanced Placement program (a set of college-level courses sponsored by the College Board). Each AP course is associated with an standardized AP examination, and students with qualifying AP examination scores are granted credit, placement, or both at most colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and at institutions in more than 40 other countries.
Associate's degree
A degree granted for the successful completion of a subbaccalaureate program of studies, usually requiring at least 2 years (or equivalent) of full-time college-level study. This includes degrees granted in a cooperative or work-study program.
Averaged freshman graduation rate
A rate that provides an estimate of the percentage of public high school students who graduate on time. The rate is the number of graduates divided by the estimated count of freshmen 4 years earlier. The estimated averaged freshman enrollment count is the sum of the number of 8th-graders 5 years earlier, the number of 9th-graders 4 years earlier (because this is when current year seniors were freshmen), and the number of 10th-graders 3 years earlier, divided by 3. Enrollment counts include a proportional distribution of students not enrolled in a specific grade. The averaging is intended to account for higher grade retentions in the 9th grade. Graduates include only those who earned regular diplomas or diplomas for advanced academic achievement (e.g., honors diplomas) as defined by the state or district.

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Bachelor's degree
A degree granted for the successful completion of a baccalaureate program of studies, usually requiring at least 4 years (or equivalent) of full-time college-level study. This includes degrees granted in a cooperative or work-study program.

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Capital outlay
Funds for the acquisition of land and buildings; building construction, remodeling, and additions; the initial installation or extension of service systems and other built-in equipment; and site improvement. The category also encompasses architectural and engineering services, including the development of blueprints.
Carnegie unit
The number of credits a student received for a course taken every day, one period per day, for a full year; a factor used to standardize all credits indicated on transcripts across studies.
Catholic school
A private school over which a Roman Catholic church group exercises some control or provides some form of subsidy. Catholic schools for the most part include those operated or supported by a parish, a group of parishes, a diocese, or a Catholic religious order.
Combined elementary and secondary school
A school that encompasses instruction at both the elementary and the secondary levels; includes schools starting with grade 6 or below and ending with grade 9 or above.
Computer science
A group of instructional programs that describes computer and information sciences, including computer programming, data processing, and information systems.
Constant dollars
Dollar amounts that have been adjusted by means of price and cost indexes to eliminate inflationary factors and allow 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 dollars
Dollar amounts that have not been adjusted to compensate for inflation.
Current expenditures (elementary/secondary)
The expenditures for operating local public schools, excluding capital outlay and interest on school debt. These expenditures include such items as salaries for school personnel, fixed charges, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs. Beginning in 1980-81, expenditures for state administration are excluded.

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Degree-granting institutions
Postsecondary institutions that are eligible for Title IV federal financial aid programs and grant an associate's or higher degree. For an institution to be eligible to participate in Title IV financial aid programs, it must offer a program of at least 300 clock hours in length, have accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, have been in business for at least 2 years, and have signed a participation agreement with the Department.
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 doctorates 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 academic and professional fields require an earned master's degree as a prerequisite. First-professional degrees, such as M.D. and D.D.S., are not included under this heading.
Dual credit course
A course for which high school students can earn both high school and postsecondary credit.

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Educational attainment
The highest grade of regular school attended and completed.
Elementary school
A school classified as elementary by state and local practice and composed of any span of grades not above grade 8. In this publication, prekindergarten and kindergarten programs are included under this heading.
Elementary/secondary school
As reported in this publication, includes only regular schools (i.e., schools that are part of state and local school systems and most not-for-profit private elementary/secondary schools, both religiously affiliated and nonsectarian). Schools not reported include subcollegiate departments of institutions of higher education, residential schools for exceptional children, federal schools for American Indians, and federal schools on military posts and other federal installations.
Employment
Includes civilian, noninstitutional persons who (1) worked during any part of the survey week as paid employees; worked in their own business, profession, or farm; or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in a family-owned enterprise; or (2) were not working, but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent due to illness, bad weather, vacation, labor-management dispute, or personal reasons regardless of whether or not they were seeking another job.
English
A group of instructional programs that describes the English language arts, including composition, creative writing, and the study of literature.
Enrollment
The total number of students registered in a given school unit at a given time, generally in the fall of a year.
Expenditures
Charges incurred, whether paid or unpaid, which are presumed to benefit the current fiscal year. For elementary/secondary schools, these include all charges for current outlays plus capital outlays and interest on school debt. For institutions of higher education, these include current outlays plus capital outlays. For government, these include charges net of recoveries and other correcting transactions other than for retirement of debt, investment in securities, extension of credit, or as agency transactions. Government expenditures include only external transactions, such as the provision of perquisites or other payments in kind. Aggregates for groups of governments exclude intergovernmental transactions among the governments.
Expenditures per pupil
Charges incurred for a particular period of time divided by a student unit of measure, such as average daily attendance or average daily membership.

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Family
A group of two persons or more (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption and residing together. All such persons (including related subfamily members) are considered as members of one family.
Federal funds
Amounts collected and used by the federal government for the general purposes of the government. There are four types of federal fund accounts: the general fund, special funds, public enterprise funds, and intragovernmental funds. The major federal fund is the general fund, which is derived from general taxes and borrowing. Federal funds also include certain earmarked collections, such as those generated by and used to finance a continuing cycle of business-type operations.
First-professional degree
A degree that signifies both completion of the academic requirements for beginning practice in a given profession and a level of professional skill beyond that normally required for a bachelor's degree. This degree usually is based on a program requiring at least 2 academic years of work prior to entrance and a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete the degree program, including both prior-required college work and the professional program itself. By NCES definition, first-professional degrees are awarded in the fields of dentistry (D.D.S. or D.M.D.), medicine (M.D.), optometry (O.D.), osteopathic medicine (D.O.), pharmacy (D.Phar.), podiatric medicine (D.P.M.), veterinary medicine (D.V.M.), chiropractic (D.C. or D.C.M.), law (J.D.), and theological professions (M.Div. or M.H.L.).
Foreign languages
A group of instructional programs that describes the structure and use of language that is common or indigenous to people of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural traditions. Programs cover such features as sound, literature, syntax, phonology, semantics, sentences, prose, and verse, as well as the development of skills and attitudes used in communicating and evaluating thoughts and feelings through oral and written language.

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High school
A secondary school offering the final years of high school work necessary for graduation, usually including grades 10, 11, 12 or grades 9, 10, 11, and 12.
Household
All the persons who occupy a housing unit. A house, apartment, mobile home, or other group of rooms, or a single room, is regarded as a housing unit when it is occupied or intended for occupancy as separate living quarters, that is, when the occupants do not live and eat with any other persons in the structure and there is direct access from the outside or through a common hall.

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Impact Aid
Impact Aid was designed to assist local school districts that have lost property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt Federal property, or that have experienced increased expenditures due to the enrollment of federally connected children, including children living on Indian lands.
Instruction (elementary and secondary)
Instruction encompasses all activities dealing directly with the interaction between teachers and students. Teaching may be provided for students in a school classroom, in another location such as a home or hospital, and in other learning situations such as those involving cocurricular activities. Instruction may be provided through some other approved medium, such as television, radio, telephone, and correspondence. Instruction expenditures include salaries, employee benefits, purchased services, supplies, and tuition to private schools.
Instructional staff
In local schools, includes all public elementary and secondary (junior and senior high) day-school positions that are in the nature of teaching or in the improvement of the teaching-learning situation. Instructional staff includes consultants or supervisors of instruction, principals, teachers, guidance personnel, librarians, psychological personnel, and other instructional staff, and excludes administrative staff, attendance personnel, clerical personnel, and junior college staff.
International Baccalaureate (IB) program
High school program including an international curriculum certified by the International Baccalaureate Organization. IB courses compose a two-year liberal arts curriculum that leads to an IB diploma. Like AP courses, IB courses may earn students college credits.

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Labor force
Persons employed as civilians, unemployed but looking for work, or in the armed services during the survey week. The "civilian labor force" comprises all civilians classified as employed or unemployed. See also Unemployed.

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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, including 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 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, and 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 (L.L.M.) and Master of Science in various medical specializations.
Mathematics
A group of instructional programs that describes the science of numbers and their operations, interrelations, combinations, generalizations, and abstractions and of space configurations and their structure, measurement, transformations, and generalizations.

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Operation and maintenance services
Includes salary, benefits, supplies, and contractual fees for supervision of operations and maintenance, operating buildings (heating, lighting, ventilating, repair, and replacement), care and upkeep of grounds and equipment, vehicle operations and maintenance (other than student transportation), security, and other operations and maintenance services.

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Private school or institution
A school or institution that is controlled by an individual or agency other than a state, a subdivision of a state, or the federal government. It is usually supported primarily by other than public funds, and the operation of its program rests with other than publicly elected or appointed officials. Private schools and institutions include both not-for-profit and for-profit institutions
Public school or institution
A school or institution controlled and operated by publicly elected or appointed officials and deriving its primary support from public funds.
Pupil-to-teacher ratio
The enrollment of pupils at a given period of time, divided by the full-time-equivalent number of classroom teachers serving these pupils during the same period.

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Racial/ethnic group
Classification indicating general racial or ethnic heritage based on self-identification, as in data collected by the Census Bureau, or based on observer identification, as in data collected by the Office for Civil Rights. These categories are in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget standard classification scheme presented below:

White: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East. Normally excludes persons of Hispanic origin.

Black: A person having origins in any of the black racial groups in Africa. Normally excludes persons of Hispanic origin.

Hispanic: A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

Asian: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, e.g., China, India, Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Korea. Normally excludes persons of Hispanic origin.

Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Pacific Islands, e.g., Hawaii, Guam, and Samoa. Normally excludes persons of Hispanic origin.

American Indian or Alaska Native: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America and South America and maintains their cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition. Normally excludes persons of Hispanic origin.

Region
The regions of the United States are defined by state as follows:

Northeast: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

South: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

West: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Revenue
All funds received from external sources, net of refunds, and correcting transactions. Noncash transactions, such as receipt of services, commodities, or other receipts in kind are excluded, as are funds received from the issuance of debt, liquidation of investments, and nonroutine sale of property.

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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.
School
A division of the school system consisting of students in one or more grades or other identifiable groups and organized to give instruction of a defined type. One school may share a building with another school or one school may be housed in several buildings.
School district
An education agency at the local level that exists primarily to operate public schools or to contract for public school services. Synonyms are "local basic administrative unit" and "local education agency."
Science
The body of related courses concerned with knowledge of the physical and biological world and with the processes of discovering and validating this knowledge.
Secondary school
A school comprising any span of grades beginning with the next grade following an elementary or middle school (usually 7, 8, or 9) and ending with or below grade 12. Both junior high schools and senior high schools are included.
Social sciences
A body of related courses concerned with knowledge of the social life of human groups and individuals, including economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, social studies, and sociology.
Status dropout rate
The percentage of civilian, noninstitutionalized 16- to 24-year-olds who are not in high school and who have not earned a high school credential (either a diploma or equivalency credential such as a GED). The status dropout rate includes all dropouts regardless of when they last attended school, as well as individuals who may have never attended school in the United States, such as immigrants who did not complete a high school diploma in their home country.
Student
An individual for whom instruction is provided in an educational program under the jurisdiction of a school, school system, or other education institution. No distinction is made between the terms "student" and "pupil," though "student" may refer to one receiving instruction at any level while "pupil" refers only to one attending school at the elementary or secondary level. A student may receive instruction in a school facility or in another location, such as at home or in a hospital. Instruction may be provided by direct student-teacher interaction or by some other approved medium, such as television, radio, telephone, and correspondence.

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Title I
Title I is designed to support State and local school reform efforts tied to challenging State academic standards in order to reinforce and amplify efforts to improve teaching and learning for students farthest from meeting State standards. Individual public schools with poverty rates above 40 percent may use Title I funds, along with other Federal, State, and local funds, to operate a "schoolwide program" to upgrade the instructional program for the whole school. Schools with poverty rates below 40 percent, or those choosing not to operate a schoolwide program, offer a "targeted assistance program" in which the school identifies students who are failing, or most at risk of failing, to meet the State's challenging performance standards, then designs, in consultation with parents, staff, and district staff, an instructional program to meet the needs of those students.

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Unadjusted dollars
See Current dollars.
Unemployed
Civilians who had no employment but were available for work and (1) had engaged in any specific job-seeking activity within the past 4 weeks; (2) were waiting to be called back to a job from which they had been laid off; or (3) were waiting to report to a new wage or salary job within 30 days.

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Vocational education (or Career/Technical Education)
Organized educational programs, services, and activities that are directly related to the preparation of individuals for paid or unpaid employment, or for additional preparation for a career, requiring other than a baccalaureate or advanced degree.

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