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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Private ​and Other Nonpublic Schools and the Nation's Report Card

Why Should Private Schools Participate in NAEP? 

Private schools represent about 23 percent of schools in t​he nation and educate about 9 percent o​f the students. In order to have a complete picture of the academic progress of the nation's students, selected students in public and nonpublic schools must participate in NAEP. 

Is Your School Participating?

Learn about the NAEP program and the value of private school participation in An Introduction to NAEP for Private Schools PDF File (6.7 MB).

In 2017, private school students participating in NAEP will be assessed on tablets with keyboards in mathematics, reading, and writing. A small number of fourth- and eighth-grade students will take paper-and-pencil versions of the mathematics and reading assessments to help NAEP evaluate any differences in student performance between the two types of administration. It will be the first time that NAEP will report student data collected via tablets. Some eighth-grade students may participate in pilot digitally based assessments in civics, geography, and U.S. history. Each student will take NAEP in one format and one subject only.

Information about the 2017 program can be found in NAEP in Your Private School: Mathematics and Reading Assessments PDF File (39​0 KB) and NAEP in Your Private School: Writing and Pilot Assessments PDF File (390 KB) Learn more about the important role teachers play in NAEP by reading​ Facts for Teachers PDF File (1.2 MB).​​

Measure Up Newsletter​​ 

Also, stay abreast of NAEP news by reading the latest version (Spring/Summer 2016) of ​Measure Up for Private Schools ​PDF File (3.0 M​B), a newsletter for the private school community. ​​In this issue, learn about the NAEP 2017 program for private schools; discover more about the technology and engineering literacy 2014 assessment; read "The NAEP Experience," a section in which private school teachers and staff share their experiences with NAEP; and read "NAEP Behind the Scenes," a section in which NAEP staff explain their roles within the NAEP program.​ 

For previous newsletters containing updates about NAEP activities in private schools, visit the Measure Up for Private Schools archive.

What is the Definition of "Nonpublic Schools"?

​In the main NAEP assessments, the term "nonpublic schools" includes private schools as well as Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools and Department of Defense (DoD) domestic and overseas schools. Private schools can belong to religious organizations (of which the largest are Catholic schools), nonreligious organizations, or they can be independent schools. BIE and DoD schools are federally funded schools (that is, schools not supported by state or local governments). Private schools account for about 10 percent of the nation's students; BIE and DoD schools account for fewer than 1 perc​ent of the nation's students. (Note that for the NAEP long-term trend assessments, BIE and DoD schools are selected for the sample only occasionally; when there is sampled a school in this category, it is reported in the long-term trend results in the "nonpublic" category with the private schools.)

What Types of Private and Other Nonpublic School Results Are Reported?

NAEP selects samples representing the broad spectrum of nonpublic schools at grades 4, 8, and 12. Several different breakdowns by type of school are available, depending on assessment year and jurisdiction. (Note that Bureau of Indian Education schools and Department of Defense schools may be reported along with these nonpublic schools.)

Results for students in private schools are reported as a national average, but cannot be reported for states because the numbers of private school students asked to participate are too small to produce reliable results if reported by state. Several reports on private school performance are available in the Special Studies section of this website. 

How Are Private Schools Selected for Participation?​​

​For each NAEP assessment, a sample of schools is selected from the Private School Universe Survey (PSS). The PSS collects and stores data on more than 33,000 nonpublic schools in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The number of private schools sampled for NAEP changes from year to year depending on the assessment. However, the number of students per subject per grade typically remains the same—30 students in each school. Specific numbers of nonpublic schools and students that were both selected and that participated in past assessments can be found in the individual NAEP report cards for each subject or in a FAQ on the Nation's Report Card website How many students participate? 

NAEP Sampling Fact Sheet for Private Schools 
​To ensure that the results reported for major student groups at the national level are accurate for private schools, oversampling (i.e., sampling particular types of schools at a higher rate than they appear in the population) is necessary. ​To learn more about how private schools and students are selected for NAEP, review the​ private school sampling fact sheetPDF File (1.4 MB​).​​​

​NAEP Results for Private Schools

Results for nonpublic schools can be examined through the NAEP Data Explorer (NDE). For each NAEP assessment, private school data are collected and included in the overall results. Private school results are also reported as a separate category in the years in which participation meets the NCES standard of at least 70% of schools in the sample. For most years, this is achieved; however, for some subjects, years, and grades, the symbol  will show that the reporting standards were not met. Explore the Private School Quick Data tool to see a detailed look at results for private and public schools.

Arts

  • Average scale scores, public and private schools at grade 8 for music and visual arts, 2008.

Civics

Geography

  • Average scale scores, public and nonpublic schools at grade 4grade 8, and grade 12: 1994, 2001, and 2010. For 2010, there are graphic results for grade 8 only; for grades 4 and 12, participation rates were not sufficient to report private school results separately.
  • Achievement-level results, public and nonpublic schools at grade 4grade 8, and grade 12: 1994, 2001, and 2010 (for grade 8 only).

mathmathMathematics


See the latest 2013 data on private schools. Select a subject, grade, and the student group "Private/Public."
 
Data available include
  • ​Average scale scores, public and private schools, grade 4 and 8: 1990–2013.
  • Achievement-level results, public and private schools, grade 4 and grade 8: 1990–2013.
  • Percentile scores, public and private schools, grade 4 and grade 8: 1990–2013.

readingreadingReading


See the latest 2013 data on private schools. Select a subject, grade, and the student group "Private/Public."
 
Data available include
  • ​Average scale scores, public and private schools, grade 4 and 8: 1990–2013.
  • Achievement-level results, public and private schools, grade 4 and grade 8: 1990–2013.
  • Percentile scores, public and private schools, grade 4 and grade 8: 1990–2013.​

Science

  • Science 2009: a new framework was used. The results for grades 4 and 8 private school students are below; note that participation rates were not sufficient to report private school results separately.
    • Average scale scores, public and nonpublic schools, grade 4 and grade 8 in 2009; for 2011, grade 8.
    • Achievement-level results, public and nonpublic schools, grade 4 and grade 8 in 2009; for 2011, grade 8.

  • Science 1996–2005:

U.S. History

  • Average scale scores, public and nonpublic schools, grade 4grade 8, and grade 12: 1994, 2001, 2006, and 2010. For 2010, there are graphic results for grade 8 only; for grades 4 and 12, participation rates were not sufficient to report private school results separately.
  • Achievement-level results, public and nonpublic schools, grade 4grade 8, and grade 12: 1994, 2001, 2006, and 2010 (for grade 8 only).

Writing

  • Writing 1998–2007:
    • Average scale scores, public, private, and Catholic schools, grades 8 and 12.
    • Achievement-level results, public, private, and Catholic schools, grades 8 and 12: 1998, 2002, and 2007.

Long-Term Trend Mathematics and Reading Assessments

NAEP long-term trend (LTT) assessments give information on the changes in mathematics and reading performance of America's youth since the early 1970s. They are administered nationally every four years (but are not reported at the state or district levels) to students aged 9, 13, and 17.

  • Mathematics average scale scores, performance levels, percentiles, age 9age 13age 17, 1978–2012. 
  • Reading average scale scores, performance levels, percentiles, public and nonpublic schools, age 9age 13age 17, 1971–2012.

Cautions in Interpreting NAEP Results

NAEP assessment results make it possible to examine relationships between students' academic performance and the varied background information collected by NAEP. A relationship that exists between achievement and another variable, however, does not reveal its underlying cause, which may be influenced by a number of other variables. Simple or causal inferences related to, for example, student group membership, the effectiveness of public and nonpublic schools, and state- or district-level education systems cannot be drawn using NAEP results.​

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Last updated 15 June 2016 (TO)