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Statistical Standards
Statistical Standards Program
Table of Contents
1. Development of Concepts and Methods

1-1 Intial Planning of Surveys
1-2 Publication and Production Planning
1-3 Computation of Response Rates
1-4 Codes and Abbreviations
1-5 Defining Race and Ethnicity Data
1-6 Discretionary Grant Descriptions

2. Planning and Design of Surveys
3. Collection of Data
4. Processing and Editing of Data
5. Analysis of Data / Production of Estimates or Projections
6. Establishment of Review Procedures
7. Dissemination of Data
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Publication information

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PURPOSE: To provide uniform codes, abbreviations and acronyms for use in NCES data collection and processing that will facilitate the exchange of information and ensure uniformity in NCES data releases.

KEY TERMS: Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA), New England County Metropolitan Statistical Area (NECMA), Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), and Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA).

STANDARD 1-4-1: The National Institute of Standards and Technology maintains a variety of abbreviations under the Federal Information Processing Guidelines (FIPS PUBS). (See for the most recent versions of these standards.) The following FIPS standards, or more current updates, must be used in all NCES data releases:


STANDARD 1-4-2: The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) was developed jointly by the United States, Canada, and Mexico to provide new comparability in statistics about business activity across North America. NAICS coding has replaced the U.S. Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system, previously released as FIPS Publication 66. NAICS codes must now be used instead of SIC codes for industry coding. (See Standard 2-5 for guidance on maintaining comparability when adopting NAICS coding for existing data series.) Current NAICS codes may be obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau at:

STANDARD 1-4-3: The following OERI-sponsored coding systems must be used, where applicable:

  1. The Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP), which is the accepted federal government statistical standard on instructional program classifications at the post-secondary level. See Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP-2000 Edition). 2002. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, NCES-2002-165, to access an electronic version of this publication, see
  2. The College Course Map (CCM), which is a classification scheme for college courses offered in the United States. (See Adelman, C. 1995. The New College Course Map and Transcript Files. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Postsecondary Education, Libraries, and Lifelong Learning.)
  3. The Secondary School Taxonomy, which is a classification scheme for high school courses offered in the U.S. (See Bradby, D. and Hoachlander, G. 1999. 1998 Revision of the Secondary School Taxonomy. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics Working Paper, NCES-1999-06.)

STANDARD 1-4-4: Where appropriate, the OERI Publication Guide must be utilized, along with the GPO Style Manual. Official national, State and international abbreviations are listed on pages 147-170 of the Style Manual, 2000 edition, of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). These abbreviations must be used where appropriate in NCES publications. The current version of the OERI Publication Guide may be found at the GPO Style Manual may be obtained at the GPO website