In 1988, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) developed a private school data collection that improved on the sporadic collection of private school data dating back to 1890 bydeveloping an alternative to commercially available private school sampling frames. Since 1989, the U.S. Bureau of the Census has conducted the biennial Private School Universe Survey (PSS) for NCES. The PSS is designed to generate biennial data on the total number of private schools, students, and teachers, and to build a universe of private schools to serve as a sampling frame of private schools for NCES sample surveys. For more information about the methodology and design of the PSS, please see the Technical Notes in appendix B of this report.
The target population for the PSS is all schools in the 50 states and the District of Columbia that are not supported primarily by public funds, provide classroom instruction for one or more of grades kindergarten through 12 (or comparable ungraded levels), and have one or more teachers. Organizations or institutions that provide support for home schooling, but do not provide classroom instruction, are not included.
The 2011 -- 12 PSS data were collected between September 2011 and May 2012. All data are for the 2011 -- 12 school year except the high school graduate data, which are for the 2010 -- 11 school year.Because the purpose of this report is to introduce new NCES survey data through the presentation of tables containing descriptive information, only selected findings are listed below. These findings are purely descriptive in nature and are not meant to imply causality. These findings have been chosen to demonstrate the range of information available from the 2011 -- 12 PSS rather than to discuss all of the observed differences, emphasize any particular issue, or make comparisons over time.
The tables in this report contain counts and percentages demonstrating bivariate relationships. All of the results have been weighted to reflect the sample design and to account for nonresponse and other adjustments. Comparisons drawn in the selected findings have been tested for statistical significance at the .05 level using Student's t statistics to ensure that the differences are larger than those that might be expected due to sampling variation. No adjustments were made for multiple comparisons.
Many of the variables examined are related to one another, and complex interactions and relationships have not been explored. Statistical Analysis Software (SAS 9.2) and SUDAAN (10.0) were used to compute the statistics for this report.