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About the Assessment: Participation Rates

The schools and students participating in NAEP assessments are selected to be representative of all schools nationally and of public schools at the state level. Samples of schools and students are drawn from each state and from the District of Columbia and Department of Defense schools. Because each school that participated in the assessment, and each student assessed, represents a portion of the population of interest, the results are weighted to account for the disproportionate representation of the selected sample. This includes oversampling of schools with high concentrations of students from certain racial/ethnic groups and the lower sampling rates of students who attend very small schools. Read more technical information about weighting adjustments made at the school and student level.

National participation

To ensure unbiased samples, NAEP requires that participation rates for original school samples be 70 percent or higher to report national results separately for public and private schools. In instances where participation rates meet the 70 percent criteria but fall below 85 percent, a nonresponse bias analysis is conducted to determine if the responding school sample is not representative of the population, thereby introducing the potential for nonresponse bias. Nonresponse bias analyses were conducted for the private school samples at both grades.

The results of the nonresponse bias analyses showed that, while the original responding school samples may not have been fully representative, including substitute schools and adjusting the sampling weights to account for school nonresponse were at least partially effective in reducing the potential for nonresponse bias. However, some variables examined in the analysis still indicated potential bias after nonresponse adjustments. For instance, smaller schools were somewhat overrepresented in the final private school samples at both grades, and the responding sample of private schools at grade 8 contained a higher percentage of Black students and a lower percentage of White students than the original sample of eligible private schools.

Before substituting new schools for originally sampled schools that declined to participate, the weighted national school participation rates for the 2011 mathematics assessment were 97 percent for grade 4 (100 percent for public schools and 74 percent for private schools), and 98 percent for grade 8 (100 percent for public schools and 74 percent for private schools). Weighted student participation rates were 95 percent at grade 4 and 93 percent at grade 8.

State and district participation

Standards established by the National Assessment Governing Board require that school participation rates for the original state samples need to be at least 85 percent for results to be reported. In 2011, all 52 states and jurisdictions, along with all 21 districts participating in the Trial Urban District mathematics assessment at grades 4 and 8 met this participation rate requirement. Weighted student participation rates for TUDA ranged from 89 percent to 97 percent at grade 4 and from 84 percent to 96 percent at grade 8.

The tables below provide participation rates before substitution.

Learn more about the sampling design.

National and State
Public school and student participation rates for Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) in mathematics at grade 4, by jurisdiction: 2011
  School participation Student participation
Jurisdiction Student-
Number of
Number of
Albuquerque 100 50 93 1,700
Atlanta 100 60 96 1,900
Austin 100 60 94 1,800
Baltimore City 100 70 93 1,300
Boston 100 80 94 1,700
Charlotte 100 60 94 1,700
Chicago 100 90 94 2,400
Cleveland 100 70 94 1,300
Dallas 100 50 97 1,700
Detroit 100 50 89 1,100
District of Columbia (DCPS) 100 80 94 1,400
Fresno 100 50 94 1,900
Hillsborough County (FL) 100 50 95 1,600
Houston 100 80 95 2,700
Jefferson County (KY) 100 50 95 1,900
Los Angeles 100 80 95 2,300
Miami-Dade 100 80 96 2,600
Milwaukee 100 60 94 1,300
New York City 100 80 94 2,500
Philadelphia 100 60 95 1,500
San Diego 100 50 95 1,700
NOTE: The number of schools is rounded to the nearest ten. The number of students is rounded to the nearest hundred. DCPS = District of Columbia Public Schools.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2011 Mathematics Assessment.

The student-weighted school participation rates are calculated based on the estimated number of students represented by either the initially selected schools that participated in the assessment (before substitution) or the participating schools, whether originally selected or selected as a substitute for a school that chose not to participate (after substitution). The school-weighted school participation rates are calculated based on the estimated number of schools either before or after substitutions.