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Financial Accounting for Local and State School Systems: 2009 Edition
NCES 2009-325
June 2009

Chapter 6: Account Classification Descriptions — Level of Instruction

This classification permits expenditures to be segregated by instructional level. Many state departments of education differentiate elementary, secondary, and postsecondary costs so they can calculate interdistrict tuition rates, compute general state aid, or both.

The following definitions and correspond with levels of instruction used by the NCES Common Core of Data program. States and school districts should use the definitions that are used in their jurisdictions. Grade span can also be changed to age span when structuring a nongraded school or school district. Each classification is presented by a code number followed by a description.

10Elementary. A school organization classified as elementary by state and local practice and composed of any span of grades from prekindergarten, kindergarten and grades 1 through 8.
11Prekindergarten. A school organization composed entirely of any span of ages below kindergarten. This category is normally used for students identified as needing special services.
12Kindergarten. A school organization for children in the year immediately preceding first grade.
19Other Elementary. A school organization composed of any span of grades not above grade 8, except prekindergarten and kindergarten.
20Middle. A school organization composed of at least three grades, usually beginning with grade 4 through grade 6 or the equivalent, and usually ending with grade 8 or grade 9. Most middle school organizations presume that students finishing middle will go on to secondary school.
30Secondary. A school organization comprising any span of grades beginning with the next grade following an elementary or middle school, usually beginning with grade 7 through grade 10, and ending with or below grade 12.
37Elementary and Secondary Combined. A school organization comprising elementary and secondary levels of instruction, which may also include kindergarten and prekindergarten programs.
40Postsecondary. A school organization providing formal instructional programs with a curriculum designed primarily for students who have completed the requirements for a high school diploma or equivalent. This includes programs of an academic, vocational, and continuing professional education purpose, and excludes avocational and adult education programs.
41Programs for Adult/Continuing. A program for adults and out-of-school youth (typically 16 years of age and older who are not regularly enrolled in school) who have completed, interrupted, or not begun their formal education and are pursuing skills or knowledge in other than regularly prescribed courses. These include adult basic education programs and other programs for the pursuit of special interests or enrichment.
42Community/Junior College. An institution of higher education that usually offers the first 2 years of college instruction and frequently grants an associate's degree, but does not grant a bachelor's degree. It is an independently organized institution (public or nonpublic), an institution that is part of a school district, or an independently organized system of junior colleges. Junior colleges offer college transfer courses and programs; vocational, technical, and semiprofessional occupational programs; or general education programs.
50School-wide, for coding expenditures that cannot be clearly assigned to a specific instructional level.