The American College Testing (ACT) assessment is designed to measure educational development in the areas of English, mathematics, social studies, and natural sciences. The ACT assessment is taken by college-bound high school students and by all graduating seniors in Colorado and Illinois. The test results are used to predict how well students might perform in college.
Prior to the 1984–85 school year, national norms were based on a 10 percent sample of the students taking the test. Since then, national norms are based on the test scores of all students taking the test. Moreover, beginning with 1984–85, these norms have been based on the most recent ACT scores available from students scheduled to graduate in the spring of the year. Duplicate test records are no longer used to produce national figures.
Separate ACT standard scores are computed for English, mathematics, science reasoning, and, as of October 1989, reading. ACT standard scores are reported for each subject area on a scale from 1 to 36. The four ACT standard scores have a mean (average) of 20.9 and a standard deviation of 4.8 for test-taking students nationally. A composite score is obtained by taking the simple average of the four standard scores and is an indication of a student's overall academic development across these subject areas.
It should be noted that graduating students who take the ACT Assessment are not necessarily representative of graduating students nationally. Students who live in the Midwest, Rocky Mountains, plains and southern regions of the country are over-represented among ACT-tested students as compared to graduating students nationally. Also, ACT-tested students tend to enroll in public colleges and universities more frequently than do college-bound students nationally.
Further information on the ACT may be obtained from:
The American College Testing Program
2201 North Dodge Street
P.O. Box 168
Iowa City, IA 52243
Founded in 1918, the American Council on Education (ACE) is the nation’s unifying voice for higher education. From its first programs for returning World War II veterans, the ACE has supported access to postsecondary education. One of its programs and services is the General Educational Development Testing Service (GEDTS) which develops and distributes General Educational Development (GED) tests. A GED credential documents high school-level academic skills. ACE publishes Who Passed the GED Tests?
Further information on the GED may be obtained from:
American Council on Education
One Dupont Circle, NW
Washington, DC 20036
The Admissions Testing Program of the College Board comprises a number of college admissions tests, including the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT) and the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT). High school students participate in the testing program as sophomores, juniors, or seniors––some more than once during these 3 years. If they have taken the tests more than once, only the most recent scores are tabulated. The PSAT and SAT report subscores in the areas of mathematics and verbal ability.
The SAT results are not representative of high school students or college-bound students nationally since the sample is self-selected. Generally, tests are taken by students who need the results to apply to a particular college or university. The state totals are greatly affected by the requirements of its state colleges. Public colleges in many states require ACT scores rather than SAT scores. Thus, the proportion of students taking the SAT in these states is very low and is inappropriate for any comparison. In recent years, more than 1.4 million high school students have taken the examination annually.
The latest version of the SAT was first administered in March, 2005.
Further information on the SAT can be obtained from:
College Entrance Examination Board
Educational Testing Service
Princeton, NJ 08541
Commonfund Institute took over management of the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI) in September 2004 from Research Associates, which originated the index in 1961. HEPI measures average changes in prices of goods and services purchased by colleges and universities through educational and general expenditures. Sponsored research and auxiliary enterprises are not priced by HEPI.
HEPI is based on the prices (or salaries) of faculty and of administrators and other professional service personnel; clerical, technical, service, and other nonprofessional personnel; and contracted services, such as data processing, communication, transportation, supplies and materials, equipment, books and periodicals, and utilities. These represent the items purchased for current operations by colleges and universities. Prices for these items are obtained from salary surveys conducted by various national higher education associations, the American Association of University Professors, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the National Center for Education Statistics; and from components of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Producer Price Index (PPI) published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The quantities of these goods and services have been kept constant based on the 1971–72 buying pattern of colleges and universities. The weights assigned the various items priced, which represent their relative importance in the current-fund educational and general budget, are estimated national averages. Variance in spending patterns of individual institutions from these national averages reduces only slightly the applicability of the HEPI to any given institutional situation. Modest differences in the weights attached to expenditure categories have little effect on overall index values. This is because the HEPI is dominated by the trend in faculty salaries and similar salary trends for other personnel hired by institutions, which absorbs or diminishes the effects of price changes in other items purchased in small quantities.
Further information on HEPI may be obtained from:
15 Old Danbury Road
P.O. Box 812
Wilton, CT 06897-0812
The Council for Aid to Education, Inc. (CFAE) is a not-for-profit corporation funded by contributions from businesses. CFAE largely provides consulting and research services to corporations and information on voluntary support services to education institutions. Each year CFAE conducts a survey of colleges and universities and private elementary and secondary schools to obtain information on the amounts, sources, and purposes of private gifts, grants, and bequests received during the academic year.
In the 2001–02 study, approximately 2,973 colleges and universities were invited to participate and 1,060 responded. The response rate for colleges and universities was 35.5 percent. CFAE estimates that about 85 percent of all voluntary support is reported in the survey because of the high participation of institutions receiving large amounts of funding.
Survey forms are reviewed by CFAE for internal consistency before preparing a computerized database. Institutional reports of voluntary support data from the CFAE Survey of Voluntary Support of Education are more comprehensive and detailed than the related data in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, Finance Survey conducted by NCES. The results from the Survey of Voluntary Support of Education are published in the annual Voluntary Support of Education, which may be purchased from CFAE.
Further information on Voluntary Support of Education may be obtained from:
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonprofit organization of the 57 public officials who head departments of public education in every state, the outlying areas, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Department of Defense Dependents Schools. In 1985, the CCSSO founded the State Education Assessment Center to provide a locus of leadership by the states to improve the monitoring and assessment of education. State Education Indicators, is the principal report of the Assessment Center's program of indicators on education. Most of the data are obtained from a member questionnaire, and the remainder of the data is from federal government agencies.
Further information on CCSSO publications may be obtained from:
State Education Assessment Center
Council of Chief State School Officers
One Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
The Education Commission of the States (ECS) Clearinghouse collects information on laws and standards in the field of education and reports them periodically in Clearinghouse Notes. The Commission collects information about administrators, principals, and teachers. It also examines policy areas, such as assessment and testing, collective bargaining, early childhood issues, quality education, and school schedules. The information is collected by reading state newsletters, tracking state legislation, and surveying state education agencies. Data are verified by the individual states when necessary. Even though ECS monitors state activity on a continuous basis, it updates the reports only when there is significant change in state activity.
Further information on Clearinghouse Notes is available from:
Each year the Gallup Poll conducts the "Public Attitudes Toward the Public Schools" survey, funded by Phi Delta Kappa. The survey includes interviews with adults representing the civilian noninstitutional population 18 years old and over.
Gallup uses an unclustered, directory-assisted, random-digit telephone sample, based on a proportionate stratified sampling design. In 2000, the final sample was weighted so that the distribution corresponded with the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS) estimates for adult population living in households with telephones in the continental United States. The sample used in the 36th annual survey was made up of a total of 1,003 adults aged 18 and over. Field work for the survey was conducted between May 28th and June 18th of 2004.
The survey is a sample survey and is subject to sampling error. The size of error depends largely on the number of respondents providing data. Appendix table A-4 shows the approximate sampling errors associated with different percentages and sample sizes for the survey. Appendix table A-5 provides approximate sampling errors for comparisons of two sample percentages.
For example, an estimated percentage of about 10 percent based on the responses of 1,000 sample members maintains an approximate sampling error of 2 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. The sampling error for the difference in 2 percentages (50 percent versus 41 percent) based on 2 samples of 750 members and 400 members, respectively, is about 8 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.
Further information on the "Public Attitudes Toward the Public Schools" survey may be obtained from:
The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) tests are taken by individuals applying to graduate or professional school. GRE offers two types of tests, the General Test and Subject Tests. The General Test, which is mainly offered on computer, measures verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing skills. The writing section consists of two analytical writing tasks and replaced the analytical reasoning section on the general GRE after December 31, 2002. The Subject Tests measure achievement in subject areas that include Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology. Each graduate institution or division of the institution determines which GRE tests are required for admission.
Individuals may take GRE tests more than once. Score reports only reflect scores earned within the past 5-year period.
Further information on the GRE may be obtained from:
Graduate Record Examinations Board
Educational Testing Service
Princeton, NJ 08541
In 1988, The Independent Sector commissioned the Gallup Poll to conduct a national survey on the giving and volunteering behavior of Americans. This survey is part of a series of surveys taking place every 2 years. The 1999 information was obtained from in-home personal interviews conducted during May, June, and July 1999, with a representative national sample of 2,553 adult Americans 18 or more years old. Weighting procedures were used to ensure that the sample makeup corresponds with that of the adult population of the United States. The sampling procedure did not include those with incomes above $200,000 because they constitute such a small percentage of the population. The sampling error for this survey was plus or minus 3 percent.
The results from this survey are published in Giving and Volunteering in the United States, 1999 and may be purchased from:
1200 Eighteenth Street NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036
Each year, the Institute of International Education (IIE) conducts a survey of the number of foreign students studying in American colleges and universities and reports these data in Open Doors. All of the regionally accredited institutions in the Education Directory, Colleges, and Universities published by NCES are surveyed by IIE. The data presented in the Digest are drawn from the IIE survey that requests the total enrollment of foreign students in an institution and information on student characteristics, such as country of origin. For the 2002-03 survey, approximately 90 percent of the 2,700 institutions surveyed reported data.
Additional information can be obtained from the publication Open Doors or by contacting:
Institute of International Education
809 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017-3580
The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, known as the IEA, is comprised of governmental research centers and national research institutions around the world whose aim is to investigate education problems common among countries. Since its inception in 1958, the IEA has conducted more than 23 research studies of cross-national achievement. The regular cycle of studies encompasses learning in basic school subjects. Examples are the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Studies (PIRLS). IEA projects also include studies of particular interest to IEA members, such as the TIMSS-R Video Study of Classroom Practices, Civic Education, Information Technology in Education, and Preprimary Education.
In 1994, the IEA General Assembly, composed of the research institutes participating in IEA projects, decided to undertake a two-phased study of civic knowledge called the Civic Education Study (CivEd). Phase I of CivEd, begun in 1996, was designed to collect extensive documentary evidence and expert opinion describing the circumstances, content, and process of civic education in 24 countries. Phase II, the assessment phase of the study, conducted in 1999, was designed to assess the civic knowledge of 14-year-old students across 28 countries. The assessment items in CivEd were designed to measure knowledge and understanding of key principles that are universal across democracies. Another key component of the Phase 2 study focuses on measuring the attitudes of students toward civic issues. Although the study was designed as an international comparison, the data collected allow individual countries to conduct in-depth, national-level comparisons and analyses.
Further information on the IEA civic education study may be obtained from:
The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS, formerly known as the Third International Mathematics and Science Study) provides reliable and timely data on the mathematics and science achievement of U.S. students compared to that of students in other countries. TIMSS data has been collected in 1995, 1999, and 2003. TIMSS collects information through mathematics and science achievement tests and questionnaires. The questionnaires request information to help provide a context for the performance scores, focusing on such topics as students' attitudes and beliefs about learning, students’ habits and homework, and their lives both in and outside of school; teachers' attitudes and beliefs about teaching and learning, teaching assignments, class size and organization, instructional practices, and participation in professional development activities; and principals' viewpoints on policy and budget responsibilities, curriculum and instruction issues, and student behavior, as well as descriptions of the organization of schools and courses. The assessments and questionnaires are designed to specifications in a guiding framework. The TIMSS framework describes the mathematics and science content to be assessed by providing grade-specific objectives, an overview of the assessment design, and guidelines for item development.
Each participating country, like the United States, was required to draw random samples of schools. In the United States, a national probability sample drawn for each study has resulted in over 500 schools and approximately 33,000 students participating in 1995, 221 schools and 9,000 students participating in 1999, and 480 schools and almost 19,000 students in 2003. This sample design ensures the appropriate number of schools and students are participating to provide a representative sample of the students in a specific grade in the United States as a whole.
The 2003 U.S. fourth grade sample achieved an initial school response rate of 70 percent (weighted); with a school response rate of 82 percent, after replacement schools were added. From the schools that agreed to participate, students were sampled in intact classes. A total of 10,795 fourth-grade students were sampled for the assessment and 9,829 participated, for a 95 percent student response rate. The resulting fourth grade overall response rate, with replacements included, was 78 percent. The U.S. eighth grade sample achieved an initial school response rate of 71 percent; with a school response rate of 78 percent, after replacement schools were added. A total of 9,891 students were sampled for the eighth grade assessment and 8,912 completed the assessment, for a 94 percent student response rate. The resulting eighth grade overall response rate, with replacements included, was 73 percent.
Further information on study may be obtained from:
The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) is a nonprofit professional organization representing chief administrative and financial officers at more than 2,100 colleges and universities across the country. Over two-thirds of all institutions of higher learning in the United States are members of NACUBO. Each year TIAA-CREF Trust Company, a pension system for educators and a manager of college endowments, conducts an in-depth study of college and university endowments for NACUBO, through its subsidiary, the Trust Company. Endowment assets for 2004 NACUBO Endowment Study participants are for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2004.
Endowments include stocks, bonds, cash, and real estate that colleges and universities receive as gifts. Colleges or universities receiving endowments may not spend the endowment principal, only investment income derived from the principal. Quasi-endowments (year-end surplus assets that institutions choose to treat as permanent capital) may also be included in an investment pool’s endowment composition. Also, because donors frequently stipulate that their gifts support specific programs at colleges and universities, the overall size of the endowment can be misleading in terms of available income to support the education of undergraduate students. For example, the income from an endowment gift to a medical school or law school may only be spent on those schools. In such cases, the income would not be available to support undergraduate education. Thus, at some research universities with extensive graduate and professional schools, as little as one-third of the institution's endowment may actually be available to generate income to support undergraduate programs and students.
The survey was administered entirely in a Web-based format. There were 741 respondents to the 2004 survey.
Further information on the 2004 NACUBO Endowment Study may be obtained from:
National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)
2501 M Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20037
The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) was organized in 1928 to represent professional standards boards and commissions and state departments of education that are responsible for the preparation, licensure, and discipline of educational personnel. Currently, NASDTEC’s membership includes all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the United States Department of Defense Educational Activity, United States Territories, and Canadian Provinces and Territories.
The NASDTEC Manual was first printed in 1984 and is the most comprehensive printed source of state-by-state information pertaining to the certification requirements and preparation of teachers and other school personnel in the United States and Canada.
Further information on the NASDTEC Manual may be obtained from:
The National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP) is an association of states with general programs of scholarship or grant assistance for undergraduate study. Prior to 1995-96, NASSGAP was known as the National Association of State Scholarship and Grant Programs. Executive officers responsible for grant program administration represent each state in the Association. The 34th Annual Survey Report: 2002–03 Academic Year is produced by the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation, and data are reported for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
Further information on the 34th Annual Survey Report: 2002–03 Academic Year may be obtained from:
New York State Higher Education Services Corporation
99 Washington Avenue, Room 1438
Albany, NY 12255
The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) is an organization devoted to providing leadership and service to Catholic education since 1904. NCEA began to publish The United States Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools: Annual Statistical Report on Schools, Enrollment and Staffing in 1970 because of the lack of educational data on the private sector. The report is based on data gathered by each of the 178 archdiocesan and diocesan offices of education in the United States. These data enable NCEA to present information on school enrollment and staffing patterns for prekindergarten through grade 12. The first part of the report presents data concerning the context of American education, while the following segment focuses on statistical data of Catholic schools. Statistics include enrollment by grade level, ethnicity, and religious affiliation.
Further information on The United States Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools: Annual Statistical Report on Schools, Enrollment, and Staffing may be obtained from:
The National Education Association (NEA) reports enrollment, expenditure, revenue, graduate, teacher, and instructional staff salary data in its annual publication, Estimates of School Statistics. Each year NEA prepares regression-based estimates of financial and other education statistics and submits them to the states for verification. Generally, about 30 states adjust these estimates based on their own data. These preliminary data are published by NEA along with revised data from previous years. States are asked to revise previously submitted data as final figures become available. The most recent publication contains all changes reported to the NEA.
The Status of the American Public School Teacher survey is conducted every 5 years by the National Education Association (NEA). The survey was designed by the NEA Research Division and initially administered in 1956. The intent of the survey is to solicit information covering various aspects of public school teachers' professional, family, and civic lives.
In the 2000–01 survey, 1,467 public school teachers responded and the response rate was 67.4 percent.
Possible sources of nonsampling errors are nonresponses, misinterpretation, and––when comparing data over years––changes in the sampling method and instrument. Misinterpretation of the survey items should be minimal, as the sample responding is not from the general population, but one knowledgeable about the area of concern. Also, the sampling procedure changed after 1956 and some wording of items has changed over the different administrations.
Since sampling is used, sampling variability is inherent in the data. An approximation to the maximum standard error for estimating the population percentages is 1.4 percent. Approximations for significance for other comparisons appear on Appendix table A-6. To estimate the 95 percent confidence interval for population percentages, the maximum standard error of 1.4 percent is multiplied by 2 (1.4 x 2). The resulting percentage (2.8) is added and subtracted from the population estimate to establish upper and lower bounds for the confidence interval. For example, if a sample percentage is 60 percent, there is a 95 percent chance that the population percentage lies between 57.2 percent and 62.8 percent (60 percent ± 2.8 percent).
Further information on Status of the American Public School Teacher may be obtained from:
Brooke E. Whiting
National Education Association––Research
1201 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) publishes analyses of national policies and surveyed data in education, training, and economics in about 30 countries. The countries surveyed are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States. In addition to these OECD countries, a number of other countries are participating in the related World Education Indicators (WEI), a joint project sponsored by the OECD and UNESCO. These countries include: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Malaysia, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, and Zimbabwe.
OECD has revised its data collection procedures to highlight current education issues and improve data comparability. The Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) has developed an Indicators of Education Systems (INES) project involving representatives of the OECD countries and the OECD Secretariat to improve international education statistics. Improvements in data quality and comparability among OECD countries have resulted from the country-to-country interaction sponsored through the INES and WEI projects. The most recent publication in this series is Education at a Glance, OECD Indicators, 2004.
Documentation for the enrollment, degree, staff, and finance data appearing in Education at a Glance, OECD Indicators has been published in OECD Handbook for Internationally Comparative Education Statistics: Concepts, Standards, Definitions and Classifications. This publication provides countries with specific guidance on how to prepare information for OECD education surveys. Chapter 6 of the OECD Handbook for Internationally Comparative Education Statistics contains a discussion of data quality issues.
Further information on INES may be obtained from:
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a new system of international assessments that focus on 15-year-olds' capabilities in reading literacy, mathematics literacy, and science literacy. PISA also includes measures of general or cross-curricular competencies such as learning strategies. PISA emphasizes functional skills that students have acquired as they near the end of mandatory schooling. PISA is organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization of industrialized countries, and was administered for the first time in 2000, when 32 countries participated. In 2003, 42 countries took part in the assessment.
PISA is a paper-and-pencil exam that is designed to assess 15-year-olds' capabilities in reading, mathematics, and science literacy. Each student takes a two-hour assessment. Assessment items include a combination of multiple-choice and open-ended questions that require students to come up with their own response. PISA scores are reported on a scale with a mean score of 500 and a standard deviation of 100.
PISA is implemented on a 3-year cycle that began in 2000. Each PISA assessment cycle focuses on one subject in particular, although all 3 subjects are assessed every 3 years. In the first cycle, PISA 2000, reading literacy is the major focus, occupying roughly two-thirds of assessment time. For 2003, PISA focused on mathematics literacy as well as the ability of students to solve problems in real-life settings. In 2006, PISA will focus on science literacy.
The intent of PISA reporting is to provide an overall description of performance in reading literacy, mathematics literacy, and science literacy every 3 years, and to provide a more detailed look at each domain in the years when it is the major focus. These cycles will allow countries to compare changes in trends for each of the three subject areas over time.
To implement PISA, each of the participating countries selects a nationally representative sample of 15 year-olds, regardless of grade level. In the United States, nearly 5,500 students from public and nonpublic schools took the PISA 2003 assessment. Due to low response rates, PISA 2000 data for the Netherlands were not discussed in the U.S. report. PISA 2003 data from the United Kingdom were not discussed in the U.S. report due to low response rates.
In each country, the assessment is translated into the primary language of instruction; in the United States, all materials are written in English.
Further information on PISA may be obtained from:
International Activities Program
National Center for Education Statistics
1990 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) conducts annual surveys of education statistics of its member countries. Besides official surveys, data are supplemented by information obtained by UNESCO through other publications and sources. Each year, more than 200 countries reply to the UNESCO surveys. In some cases, estimates are made by UNESCO for particular items such as world and continent totals. While great efforts are made to make them as comparable as possible, the data still reflect the vast differences among the countries of the world in the structure of education. While there is some agreement about the reporting of primary and secondary data, the tertiary-level data (postsecondary education) present numerous substantive problems. Some countries report only university enrollment while other countries report all postsecondary enrollment, including vocational and technical schools and correspondence programs. A very high proportion of some countries' tertiary-level students attend institutions in other countries. The member countries that provide data to UNESCO are responsible for their validity. Thus, data for particular countries are subject to nonsampling error and perhaps sampling error as well. Users should examine footnotes carefully to recognize some of the data limitations.
Further information on the Statistical Yearbook and the Global Education Digest may be obtained from:
UNESCO Institute for Statistics
Montreal, Quebec, H3C 3J7