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This report presents data on students in the United States attending kindergarten through grade 12. The main focus of the report is on parent and family involvement in the students’ education during the 2011–12 school year as reported by the students’ parents. It also includes the percentage of students who participated in family activities, as well as the number of children who were homeschooled. Demographic information about students and families is presented, including students’ poverty status and parents’ education and language spoken at home, as well as school characteristics, such as school size and school type. The data for this report come from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012 (NHES:2012), Parent and Family Involvement in Education (PFI) Survey. The PFI survey is designed for students who are enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12 or are homeschooled for equivalent grades and asks questions about various aspects of parent involvement in education, such as help with homework, family activities, and parent involvement at school. For homeschooled students, the survey asks questions related to the student’s homeschooling experiences, the sources of the curriculum, and the reasons for homeschooling. The NHES:2012 also fielded the Early Childhood Program Participation (ECPP) Survey, which was designed for children ages 0–6 and not enrolled in kindergarten. Data in this report cover only the PFI survey.

The NHES:2012 is an address-based sample covering the 50 states and the District of Columbia and was conducted by the United States Census Bureau from January through August 2012. Previously, the NHES used a random digit dial (RDD) sample of landline telephones. However, owing to declining response rates for all telephone surveys and the increase in households that only or mostly use a cell phone instead of a landline phone, the data collection method was changed to a mail survey. Due to this mode change, readers should use caution when comparing estimates to prior NHES administrations. PFI questionnaires were completed by a parent or guardian who knew about the sampled child. When weighted, the PFI data are nationally representative of students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12, including children enrolled in private schools, enrolled in public schools, and homeschooled. The total number of completed PFI questionnaires was 17,563, representing a population of 53.4 million students enrolled in kindergarten through grade 12 in 2011–12. The screener questionnaire, which is designed to enumerate all children in the sampled household before the main topical survey is sent, has a weighted response rate of 73.8 percent. The weighted unit response rate for the PFI is 78.4 percent, and the overall response rate is 57.8 percent. An analysis of bias in the NHES:2012 data, described further in appendix A, detected a small number of measurable differences. The level of potential bias detected is considered to be low. Additional details about the survey methodology, response rates, and data reliability are provided in appendix A.

Results presented in the tables within this report are weighted. All statements of comparison made in this report have been tested for statistical significance using two-tailed t-tests and are significant at the 95 percent confidence level. No adjustments were made for multiple comparisons. Some estimates that appear different may not be measurably different in a statistical sense due to sampling error. Readers are directed to the Statistical Tests section of appendix A for information about how to make comparisons between estimates in the tables.

Tables 1 through 6 of this First Look report are reported by school, student, and family characteristics and primarily relate to activities associated with schools. Therefore, students who were homeschooled are not included in these tables. Tables 7 and 8 report data for homeschooled students by student and family characteristics.

This First Look report introduces new NHES survey data by presenting selected descriptive information. Readers are cautioned not to draw causal inferences based on the results presented. It is important to note that many of the variables examined in this report may be related to one another, and complex interactions and relationships among the variables have not been explored. The variables examined here are also just a few of the variables that can be examined in these data; they were selected to demonstrate the range of information available from the study. The release of this report is intended to encourage more in-depth analysis of the data using more sophisticated statistical methods.

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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education