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Digest of Education Statistics: 2009
Digest of Education Statistics: 2009

NCES 2010-013
April 2010


The 2009 edition of the Digest of Education Statistics is the 45th in a series of publications initiated in 1962. The Digest has been issued annually except for combined editions for the years 1977–78, 1983–84, and 1985–86. Its primary purpose is to provide a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American education from prekindergarten through graduate school. The Digest includes a selection of data from many sources, both government and private, and draws especially on the results of surveys and activities carried out by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). To qualify for inclusion in the Digest, material must be nationwide in scope and of current interest and value. The publication contains information on a variety of subjects in the field of education statistics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to data on educational attainment, finances, federal funds for education, libraries, and international comparisons. Supplemental information on population trends, attitudes on education, education characteristics of the labor force, government finances, and economic trends provides background for evaluating education data. Although the Digest contains important information on federal education funding, more detailed information on federal activities is available from federal education program offices.

The Digest contains seven chapters: All Levels of Education, Elementary and Secondary Education, Postsecondary Education, Federal Programs for Education and Related Activities, Outcomes of Education, International Comparisons of Education, and Libraries and Educational Technology. Preceding these chapters is an Introduction that provides a brief overview of current trends in American education, which supplements the tabular materials in chapters 1 through 7. The Digest concludes with three appendixes. The first appendix, Guide to Sources, provides a brief synopsis of the surveys used to generate the Digest tables; the second, Definitions, is included to help readers understand terms used in the Digest; and the third, Index of Table Numbers, allows readers to quickly locate tables on specific topics.

In addition to updating many of the statistics that have appeared in previous years, this edition contains new material, including

  • 4th- and 8th-grade public school students’ average reading scale scores and selected reading achievement-level results, by specific urban district and race/ethnicity (table 122);
  • 4th- and 8th-grade public school students’ average reading scale scores and selected reading achievement-level results, by English language learner (ELL) status and state or jurisdiction (table 124);
  • average arts scale score of 8th-graders, percentage distribution by frequency of instruction, and percentage participating in selected activities, by subject and selected student and school characteristics (table 126);
  • 4th- and 8th-grade public school students’ average mathematics scale scores and selected mathematics achievement-level results, by specific urban district and race/ethnicity (table 137);
  • number of U.S. students studying abroad and percentage distribution, by sex, race/ethnicity, academic level, host region, and duration of stay (table 225);
  • certificates conferred by postsecondary institutions participating in Title IV programs, by race/ethnicity and sex of student (table 281); and
  • graduation rates of first-time postsecondary students who started as full-time degree-seeking students, by sex, race/ethnicity, time between starting and graduating, and level and control of institution where student started (table 331).

The Digest can be accessed from

Valena Plisko
Associate Commissioner
Early Childhood, International, and Crosscutting Studies Division