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Numbers and Types of Public Elementary and Secondary Local Education Agencies From the Common Core of Data: School Year 200708
NCES 2010-306
October 2009

Appendix A: Methodology and Technical Notes

Common Core of Data Survey system. The State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education, the Local Education Agency Universe Survey, and the Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey are the nonfiscal components of the Common Core of Data (CCD) survey system. These surveys are reported annually by state education agencies (SEAs).

Participation in 2007-08. The data are collected from SEAs through the Department of Education's EDFacts system. The 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands participated in EDFacts for the 2007-08 school year; the Department of Defense dependents schools (overseas and domestic) and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands reported directly to the CCD. The Bureau of Indian Education, American Samoa, and Guam did not report data for the 2007-08 school year.

The 2007-08 school year EDFacts collection of CCD data opened in January 2008 and closed in July 2009.

Totals. United States totals in the tables are limited to the 50 states and the District of Columbia. They do not include data from the Bureau of Indian Education, Department of Defense dependents schools (overseas and domestic), Puerto Rico, or the other jurisdictions of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Missing data. Not all states collect and report all of the data items requested in the CCD surveys. NCES attempts to correct missing data first by drawing on other sources. For example, a state may be unable to report data during the collection period, but publishes them later, through a written report or website. NCES imports data from these other published sources to correct missing items. NCES also imports some information, such as address or telephone number, from a prior year's data file if it is missing in the current year. Those procedures are used for any data item, and for all of the three nonfiscal CCD surveys. In 2007-08, the CCD carried forward from prior years the numbers and types of schools for the Bureau of Indian Education, American Samoa, and Guam.

NCES imputes (replaces a nonresponse with a plausible value) some missing items in the State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, but does not impute missing items in the Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey or the Local Education Agency Universe Survey.

When reporting results, NCES treats missing data within individual states differently than it treats missing data across all states and the District of Columbia. An individual state is considered to have missing data if an item is reported for less than 80 percent of possible cases.

If information is missing for some but no more than 15 percent of possible cases across the 50 states and District of Columbia, NCES calculates totals and identifies them as "reporting states" totals (rather than totals for the United States). None of states or the District of Columbia had missing data for any of the data items used in this report. Precise information about missing data is included in the documentation for the Local Education Agency Universe Survey 2007-08 file.

EDFacts accepted blank responses in 2007-08 school year reports and did not require that states distinguish among missing, not applicable, and "zero" values. Every effort was made to correctly identify responses as missing, not applicable, or zero after the fact, but it is possible that some blank responses were categorized incorrectly.

Data quality. Staff at NCES, the Census Bureau, and the American Institutes for Research's Education Statistics Service Institute collaborate to edit all CCD data submissions. Data editors ask state CCD coordinators to correct or confirm any numbers that appear out of range when compared to other states' data or with the state's reports in previous years. If no explanation is forthcoming for anomalous data, NCES will change the value (example, replace a reported value with the sum of detail) or change it to "not available." For example, if a state's number of 12th grade students was substantially larger than the number of students in grade 11 in the previous year, and the state could not explain the discrepancy, NCES would change the reported number of 12th-grade students to "not available."

School and agency operational and membership status. In order to ensure continuity over time, the CCD includes schools and agencies that may not be operating during the school year reported. "Inactive" agencies are those that are closed temporarily, with the intention that they will be reopened, and they retain their original NCES identification code. "Closed" agencies are reported for one year after they have been closed. "Future" agencies are those that are scheduled to open, but have not yet begun to operate.

Some operational schools or agencies may legitimately not report students. The CCD allows a student to be reported for only a single school or agency. A vocational school or a local education agency operating only vocational schools may provide classes for students from a number of regular schools or school districts. In this case, the students are usually reported in the membership of their school of record, and the vocational school (identified as a "shared time" school) and its associated agency show no student membership. Many of the agencies that are not regular school districts do not typically enroll students.

Agreement across survey levels. Some students receive a public education outside a regular school district (for example, they may attend a state-operated residential school). And, some students in a regular school district may not be served by a school. Hospital-homebound students, for example, may be reported in the membership for a regular school district but not for any of the district's schools. The numbers of students and staff shown in the tables for any CCD First Look report are derived from the survey represented in that report. Therefore, the numbers may differ across reports. The numbers reported in the State Nonfiscal Survey of Public Elementary/Secondary Education are considered the official statistics for a state.

New York City Public Schools. In 2003-04, New York began reporting the New York City Public Schools as 33 separate sub-districts that are components of a supervisory union, the New York City Public Schools. This report combines the sub-districts into a single regular school district.

Staff counts. All staff counts (including teachers) are reported in full-time equivalent (FTE) units. This is the amount of time required to perform an assignment stated as a proportion of a full-time position. It is computed by dividing the amount of time an individual is employed by the time normally required for a full-time position.

Locale code changes. The locale codes shown in this report were created using a different methodology than that used to create locale codes prior to 2006-07. The current locale codes are based on newer geographic definitions and describe the location of a school more accurately than was possible using the older system.