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Appendix A: Technical Notes

The National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) is a set of surveys sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This First Look report presents new survey data released from the Parent and Family Involvement in Education (PFI) Survey of the 2012 NHES. Earlier administrations of the NHES—in 1996, 1999, 2003, and 2007—also focused on parent and family involvement in education.

The PFI data collection was conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, from January through August of 2012. This section provides a brief description of the study methodology. For more extensive information on the study methodology and data collection procedures, readers are advised to consult the NHES:2012 Data File User's Manual1 (McPhee et al. forthcoming).

The NHES:2012 sample was selected using a two-stage address-based sampling frame. The first sampling stage selected residential addresses, and the second sampling stage selected an eligible child from information provided on the household mail screener. To increase the number of Blacks and Hispanics in the sample, Black and Hispanic households were sampled at a higher rate than other households by identifying census tracts with higher percentages of these residents. After the sample was selected, the data were collected using printed questionnaires that were mailed to the sampled respondents.

The NHES:2012 included three topical surveys: the PFI-Enrolled survey (PFI-Enrolled), the PFI-Homeschooled survey (PFI-Homeschooled), and the Early Childhood Program Participation (ECPP) survey. In order to limit respondent burden, a within-household sampling scheme was developed to control the number of persons sampled for topical questionnaires in each household. Eligible children were selected to receive either the ECPP survey or the PFI-Enrolled or PFI-Homeschooled survey; no household received more than one survey.

Because ECPP-eligible children comprise a smaller portion of the population than PFI-eligible children, differential sampling in households with children in both domains was applied to ensure a sufficient sample size for the ECPP survey. The differential probabilities of selection (for households overall and within households) are accounted for in the NHES weighting methodology. The PFI sample is nationally representative of all noninstitutionalized students in the 50 states and the District of Columbia from kindergarten through grade 12 enrolled in school or children ages 4 through 18 and homeschooled for these grades.2

The respondent to the PFI questionnaire was a parent or guardian in the household who knew about the sampled child. The respondent was asked questions about school choice, homeschooling, school characteristics, student experiences, teacher feedback on school performance and behavior, family involvement in the school, school practices to involve and support families, satisfaction with different aspects of the school, family involvement in schoolwork, and family involvement in activities with students. The respondent was also asked basic demographic questions about the child, as well as questions about the child's health and disability status, parent/guardian characteristics, and household characteristics. Multiple follow-up attempts were made to obtain completed questionnaires with respondents who did not respond to the first questionnaire that was mailed to them. The survey questionnaires were printed in both English and Spanish. The total number of completed PFI questionnaires was 17,563, representing a population of 53.4 million students when weighted to reflect national totals.


1 McPhee et al. (forthcoming). National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012: Data File User's Manual, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC.
2 Homeschool calculations follow previous homeschool reports by including children ages 5 through 17, in a grade equivalent to at least kindergarten and not higher than grade 12, and excludes students who were enrolled in public or private school more than 25 hours per week, and students who were homeschooled only because of temporary illness. Temporary illness was not defined for respondents.


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