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Staff and Administrators (Private/Other Nonpublic Schools)

The participation of private and other nonpublic schools (the Bureau of Indian Education, the Department of Defense, Puerto Rico, and other overseas institutions) in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is essential for examining the picture of education in the United States and informing future policy decisions.

Private schools represent about 26 percent of schools in the nation and educate about 9 percent of 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.

How Are Private Schools Performing?

In 2013, 66% of eighth graders in private schools and 47% of eighth graders in public schools were able to recognize the meaning of a word as used in a persuasive essay on the reading assessment.

Results for private school performance are published on the Nation’s Report Card website. Results are reported as a national average for Catholic schools and other private schools, 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.

NAEP also disseminates information about students’ learning experiences in and out of the classroom, which is collected from students, teachers, and school survey questionnaires. This data helps place achievement results into context and allows meaningful comparison between student groups. This information can be used to inform parents, the public, and education policymakers about our nation’s educational environment.

Explore Private School Data

Representative NAEP data on line graph.

Use the Private School Quick Data Tool for a quick but detailed look at results for private schools.

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Your Participation Matters

CAPE supports NAEP as an accurate measure of student achievement in the United States. Participation is essential for producing private school results. We urge schools to do so.

--Joe McTighe Executive Director, Council for American Private Education (CAPE)

Your school has been selected to represent other private or nonpublic schools across the nation. Your participation in NAEP can help provide answers to important questions such as the following:

  • How has private school, student performance in NAEP subjects changed over time?
  • How does the performance of students in private schools compare to the performance of public school students?
  • How do coursetaking patterns relate to student performance?

The participation of your private or nonpublic school enables The Nation's Report Card to provide a more inclusive picture of what our nation's private school students know and can do in key subject areas, and provides policymakers and educators with data to guide decisions in policy and educational practices in the classroom.

NAEP 2019 Assessments

This year, mathematics, reading, and science assessments were administered on tablets to students at grades 4, 8, and 12. A small number of students at grades 4 and 8 in science and at grade 12 in all three subjects took paper-and-pencil assessments to evaluate any differences in student performance between the two types of administration. Each student was assessed in only one subject and format.

NAEP representatives bring all materials and equipment, including tablets, to the school on the assessment day. The school's internet, networks, or computers are not needed during the assessments. Students spend approximately 120 minutes completing the assessment, which includes transition time and instructions for completing a student questionnaire.

See additional information about the 2019 program in your private school for grades 4, 8, and 12 in the NAEP in Your Private School resources below:

Participating in a Digitally Based Assessment

During testing, NAEP provides all necessary equipment (tablets, ear buds, and administrative equipment). The only resources a school is requested to provide is space, desks or tables, and electricity. A tutorial will be provided prior to the assessment to teach students how to use the equipment and tools and to enter their responses. Questionnaires that capture the learning experiences of students in and outside of the classroom will also be administered to students on tablets.

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How are Private Schools Selected for Participation?

For each NAEP assessment, a sample of schools is selected from the Private School Universe Survey (PSS), which 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.

Last updated 09 May 2019 (HM)