NCES Blog

National Center for Education Statistics

Summer Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the school year comes to a close, many families are considering opportunities to continue learning over the summer months. Summer learning has often been seen as a way to supplement instruction during the regular school year. The U.S. Department of Education’s “COVID-19 Handbook” notes that summer learning “can offer another opportunity to accelerate learning, especially for those students most impacted by disruptions to learning during the school year.” Data from the Household Pulse Survey (HPS), which NCES developed in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau and other federal statistical agencies, explores access to summer learning opportunities by school type, racial/ethnic group, household educational attainment level, and income level.

The HPS1 provides data on how people’s lives have been impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Phase 3.2 of the HPS introduced questions on the summer education activities of children enrolled in public or private school or homeschooled, following the end of the normal school year in spring 2021. Adults 18 years old and over who had children under 18 in the home enrolled in school were asked if any of the children had attended a traditional summer school program because of poor grades; attended a summer school program to help catch up with lost learning time during the pandemic; attended school-led summer camps for subjects like math, science, or reading; and/or worked with private tutors to help catch up with lost learning time during the pandemic. Adults were allowed to select all categories that applied. Data from Phase 3.2 of the HPS, covering September 15 to 27, 2021, are discussed in this blog post.

Among adults with children enrolled in public or private school or homeschooled, 26 percent reported children were enrolled in any summer education activities after the end of the normal school year in spring of 2021 (figure 1). The most reported summer education activity was attending a summer school program to catch up on lost learning time during the pandemic (10 percent). Eight percent reported children attended school-led summer camps for subjects like math, science, or reading and 7 percent each reported children attended a traditional summer school program because of poor grades or worked with private tutors to catch up with lost learning time during the pandemic.


Figure 1. Among adults 18 years old and over who had children under age 18 in the home enrolled in school, percentage reporting participation in summer education activities after the end of the normal school year in spring of 2021, by type of summer activity: September 15 to 27, 2021

Bar chart showing percentage of adults 18 years old and over who had children under age 18 in the home enrolled in school reporting participation in summer education activities after the end of the normal school year in Spring of 2021, by type of summer activity, from the September 15 to 27, 2021, phase of the Household Pulse Survey

1 Does not equal the total of the subcategories because respondents could report multiple types of summer education activities.
NOTE: Data in this figure are considered experimental and do not meet NCES standards for response rates. The 2021 Household Pulse Survey, an experimental data product, is an Interagency Federal Statistical Rapid Response Survey to Measure Household Experiences during the coronavirus pandemic, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in partnership with 16 other federal agencies and offices. The number of respondents and response rate for the period reported in this table were 59,833 and 5.6 percent. The final weights are designed to produce estimates for the total persons age 18 and older living within housing units. These weights were created by adjusting the household level sampling base weights by various factors to account for nonresponse, adults per household, and coverage. For more information, see https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/household-pulse-survey/technical-documentation.html. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.  
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Household Pulse Survey, September 15 to 27, 2021. See Digest of Education Statistics 2021, table 227.60.


There were no significant differences in the overall percentage of adults reporting any summer education activities for their children by school type (public school, private school, or homeschooled). However, there were differences in the most common type of summer education activity reported for those with children in public school versus private school. Among adults with children in public school, the most reported summer activity was attending a summer school program to catch up with lost learning during the pandemic (11 percent) (figure 2). Among adults with children in private school, higher percentages reported children attended school-led summer camps for subjects like math, science, or reading or worked with private tutors to catch up with lost learning time during the pandemic (11 percent, each), compared with the percentage who reported children attended a traditional summer school program because of poor grades (3 percent). There were no significant differences among adults with homeschooled children by type of summer education activity.


Figure 2. Among adults 18 years old and over who had children under age 18 in the home enrolled in school, percentage reporting participation in summer education activities after the end of the normal school year in spring of 2021, by control of school and type of summer activity: September 15 to 27, 2021

Bar chart showing percentage of adults 18 years old and over who had children under age 18 in the home enrolled in school reporting participation in summer education activities after the end of the normal school year in Spring of 2021, by control of school and type of summer activity, from the September 15 to 27, 2021, phase of the Household Pulse Survey

NOTE: Figure excludes percentage of adults reporting any summer education activities for their children or that their children did not participate in any summer activities. Data in this figure are considered experimental and do not meet NCES standards for response rates. The 2021 Household Pulse Survey, an experimental data product, is an Interagency Federal Statistical Rapid Response Survey to Measure Household Experiences during the coronavirus pandemic, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in partnership with 16 other federal agencies and offices. The number of respondents and response rate for the period reported in this table were 59,833 and 5.6 percent. The final weights are designed to produce estimates for the total persons age 18 and older living within housing units. These weights were created by adjusting the household level sampling base weights by various factors to account for nonresponse, adults per household, and coverage. For more information, see https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/household-pulse-survey/technical-documentation.html. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Household Pulse Survey, September 15 to 27, 2021. See Digest of Education Statistics 2021, table 227.60.


Children’s participation in any summer education activities in the summer of 2021 varied across racial/ethnic groups. The percentage of adults reporting any summer activities for their children was higher for Black adults (44 percent) than for all other racial/ethnic groups (figure 3). While lower than the percentage of Black adults reporting any summer activities for their children, the percentages of Asian and Hispanic adults (33 and 32 percent, respectively) were both higher than the percentage of White adults (20 percent).


Figure 3. Among adults 18 years old and over who had children under age 18 in the home enrolled in school, percentage reporting participation in any summer education activities after the end of the normal school year in spring of 2021, by adult’s race/ethnicity: September 15 to 27, 2021

Bar chart showing percentage of adults 18 years old and over who had children under age 18 in the home enrolled in school reporting participation in summer education activities after the end of the normal school year in Spring of 2021, by adult’s race/ethnicity, from the September 15 to 27, 2021, phase of the Household Pulse Survey

1 Includes persons reporting Pacific Islander alone, persons reporting American Indian/Alaska Native alone, and persons of Two or more races.
NOTE: Data in this figure are considered experimental and do not meet NCES standards for response rates. The 2021 Household Pulse Survey, an experimental data product, is an Interagency Federal Statistical Rapid Response Survey to Measure Household Experiences during the coronavirus pandemic, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in partnership with 16 other federal agencies and offices. The number of respondents and response rate for the period reported in this table were 59,833 and 5.6 percent. The final weights are designed to produce estimates for the total persons age 18 and older living within housing units. These weights were created by adjusting the household level sampling base weights by various factors to account for nonresponse, adults per household, and coverage. For more information, see https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/household-pulse-survey/technical-documentation.html. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Household Pulse Survey, September 15 to 27, 2021. See Digest of Education Statistics 2021, table 227.60.            


There were also some differences observed in reported participation rates in summer education activities by the responding adult’s highest level of educational attainment. Children in households where the responding adult had completed less than high school were more likely to participate in summer education activities (39 percent) than were those in households where the responding adult had completed some college or an associate’s degree (25 percent), a bachelor’s degree (22 percent), or a graduate degree (25 percent) (figure 4). Similarly, children in households where the responding adult had completed high school2 were more likely to participate in summer education activities (28 percent) than were those in households where the responding adult had completed a bachelor’s degree (22 percent). There were no significant differences in children’s participation rates between other adult educational attainment levels.


Figure 4. Among adults 18 years old and over who had children under age 18 in the home enrolled in school, percentage reporting participation in any summer education activities after the end of the normal school year in spring of 2021, by adult’s highest level of educational attainment: September 15 to 27, 2021

Bar chart showing percentage of adults 18 years old and over who had children under age 18 in the home enrolled in school reporting participation in summer education activities after the end of the normal school year in Spring of 2021, by adult’s highest level of educational attainment, from the September 15 to 27, 2021, phase of the Household Pulse Survey

1 High school completers include those with a high school diploma as well as those with an alternative credential, such as a GED.
NOTE: Data in this figure are considered experimental and do not meet NCES standards for response rates. The 2021 Household Pulse Survey, an experimental data product, is an Interagency Federal Statistical Rapid Response Survey to Measure Household Experiences during the coronavirus pandemic, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in partnership with 16 other federal agencies and offices. The number of respondents and response rate for the period reported in this table were 59,833 and 5.6 percent. The final weights are designed to produce estimates for the total persons age 18 and older living within housing units. These weights were created by adjusting the household level sampling base weights by various factors to account for nonresponse, adults per household, and coverage. For more information, see https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/household-pulse-survey/technical-documentation.html. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.  
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Household Pulse Survey, September 15 to 27, 2021. See Digest of Education Statistics 2021, table 227.60


The percentage of adults reporting that children participated in summer education activities also varied across households with different levels of income in 2020. The percentages of adults reporting that children participated in any summer education activities were higher for those with a 2020 household income of less than $25,000 (34 percent) and $25,000 to $49,999 (33 percent) than for all other higher household income levels. There were no significant differences in reported participation rates among adults with 2020 household income levels of $50,000 to $74,999, $75,000 to $99,999, $100,000 to $149,999, and $150,000 or more.

Learn more about the Household Pulse Survey and access data tables, public use files, and an interactive data tool. For more detailed data on the summer education activities discussed in this blog post, explore the Digest of Education Statistics, table 227.60. To access other data on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted education, explore our School Pulse Panel dashboard.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube to stay up-to-date on the latest findings and trends in education, including those on summer learning activities.

 

By Ashley Roberts, AIR


[1] The speed of the survey development and the pace of the data collection efforts led to policies and procedures for the experimental HPS that were not always consistent with traditional federal survey operations. For example, the timeline for the surveys meant that opportunities to follow up with nonrespondents were very limited. This has led to response rates of 1 to 10 percent, which are much lower than the typical target response rate set in most federal surveys. While the responses have been statistically adjusted so that they represent the nation and states in terms of geographic distribution, sex, race/ethnicity, age, and educational attainment, the impact of survey bias has not been fully explored.

[2] High school completers include those with a high school diploma as well as those with an alternative credential, such as a GED.

Research Roundup: NCES Celebrates Black History Month

Looking at data by race and ethnicity can provide a better understanding of education performance and outcomes than examining statistics that describe all students. In observation of Black History Month, this blog presents NCES findings on the learning experiences of Black students throughout their education careers as well as the characteristics of Black teachers and faculty.

K–12 Education

  • Students
    • Of the 49.4 million students enrolled in public preK–12 schools in fall 2020, 7.4 million were Black students. 


       
    • In 2019–2020, some 9 percent of private school students were Black non-Hispanic.
       
    • In 2019, some 51 percent of Black 8th-grade students were in a school that reported offering a programming class. Eighty-four percent of Black 8th-grade students were in a school that offered algebra classes that were equivalent to high school algebra classes.
       
  • Teachers
    • In 2017–18, about 7 percent of all public school teachers self-identified as Black, compared with 3 percent of all private school teachers.
       
    • Twelve percent of all female career or technical education (CTE) public school teachers were Black women in 2017–18.
       
    • In 2017–18, about half of Black or African American teachers (51 percent) taught in city schools, compared with 31 percent of all teachers. 
       
    • Black or African American teachers had a higher rate of post-master’s degree education (13 percent) than did all teachers (9 percent) in 2017–18.
       
    • In 2017–18, about two-thirds (66 percent) of Black or African American teachers taught in the South, compared with 39 percent of all teachers.

 

Postsecondary Education

  • Students
    • Female enrollment at HBCUs has been higher than male enrollment in every year since 1976.
       
    • In fall 2019, nearly 2.5 million Black students were enrolled in a degree-granting postsecondary institution, compared with the 1.0 million who were enrolled in fall 1976.
       
    • In 2019–20, postsecondary institutions awarded 55,642 STEM degrees/certificates to Black students.


       
  • Faculty and Institutions
    • In fall 2019, there were 27,323 full-time Black female faculty members at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, compared with 19,874 Black male faculty members.
       
    • In fall 2020, there were 101 degree-granting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) located in the 50 states, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands—52 public institutions and 49 private nonprofit institutions.
       

By Kyle Argueta, AIR

 

NCES's Top Hits of 2021

As 2021—another unprecedented year—comes to a close and you reflect on your year, be sure to check out NCES’s annual list of top web hits. From reports and Condition of Education indicators to Fast Facts, APIs, blog posts, and tweets, NCES releases an array of content to help you stay informed about the latest findings and trends in education. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay up-to-date in 2022!
 

Top five reports, by number of PDF downloads

1. Condition of Education 2020 (8,376)

2Digest of Education Statistics 2019 (4,427)

3. Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2018 (3,282)

4. Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2019 (2,906)

5. Trends in High School Dropout and Completion Rates in the United States: 2019 (2,590)

 

Top five indicators from the Condition of Education, by number of web sessions

1. Students With Disabilities (100,074)

2. Racial/Ethnic Enrollment in Public Schools (64,556)

3. Characteristics of Public School Teachers (57,188)

4. Public High School Graduation Rates (54,504)

5. Education Expenditures by Country (50,20)

 

Top five Fast Facts, by number of web sessions

1. Back-to-School Statistics (162,126)

2. Tuition Costs of Colleges and Universities (128,236)

3. Dropout Rates (74,399)

4. Graduation Rates (73,855)

5. Degrees Conferred by Race and Sex (63,178)

 

Top five NCES/EDGE API requested categories of social and spatial context GIS data, by number of requests

1. K–12 Schools (including district offices) (4,822,590)

2. School Districts (1,616,374)

3. Social/Economic (882,984)

4. Locales (442,715)

5. Postsecondary (263,047)

 

Top five blog posts, by number of web sessions

1. Understanding School Lunch Eligibility in the Common Core of Data (8,242)

2. New Report Shows Increased Diversity in U.S. Schools, Disparities in Outcomes (3,463)

3. Free or Reduced Price Lunch: A Proxy for Poverty? (3,457)

4. Back to School by the Numbers: 2019–20 School Year (2,694)

5. Educational Attainment Differences by Students’ Socioeconomic Status (2,587)

 

Top five tweets, by number of impressions

1. CCD blog (22,557)


2. NAEP dashboard (21,551)


3. IPEDS data tools (21,323)


4. ACGR web table (19,638)


5. Kids’ Zone (19,390)

 

By Megan Barnett, AIR

Research Roundup: NCES Celebrates Native American Heritage Month

Looking at data by race and ethnicity can provide a better understanding of education performance and outcomes than examining statistics that describe all students. In observation of Native American Heritage Month, this blog presents NCES findings on the learning experiences of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) students throughout their education careers.

Early Childhood Education

  • In 2019, 45 percent of AI/AN 3- to 4-year-olds and 83 percent of AI/AN 5-year-olds were enrolled in school.
     

K12 Education

  • The 2019 National Indian Education Study (NIES) surveyed students, teachers, and school principals about the experiences of AI/AN students in 4th and 8th grades.
     
    • How much do AI/AN students know about their culture?
      • Most 4th-grade AI/AN students reported having at least “a little” knowledge of their AI/AN tribe or group, with 17 percent reporting knowing “nothing.” About 19 to 23 percent reported having “a lot” of cultural knowledge across school types. (For more information, see NIES 2019, p. 11.)
         
    • Where do AI/AN students learn about their culture?
      • Family members were identified as the people who taught students the most about AI/AN history, with 45 percent of 4th-grade students and 60 percent of 8th-grade students so reporting. Teachers were the second most commonly identified group of people important for educating students on AI/AN cultural topics. (For more information, see NIES 2019, p. 12.)
         
    • How do teachers contribute to AI/AN student cultural knowledge?
      • A majority of AI/AN students had teachers who integrated AI/AN culture or history into reading lessons: overall, 89 percent of 4th-grade students and 76 percent of 8th-grade students had teachers who reported using these concepts in reading lessons “at least once a year.” (For more information, see NIES 2019, p. 16.)
         
    • What are AI/AN student trends on assessments in mathematics and reading?
      • Nationally, mathematics scores for AI/AN students from 2015 to 2019 remained unchanged for 4th-graders and declined for 8th-graders. Most states saw no change. (For more information, see NIES 2019, p. 46.)
         
  • In 2019, 52 percent of AI/AN 4th-grade students had access to a computer at home. (For more information, see NIES 2019, p. 45.)
     
  • There were 505,000 AI/AN students enrolled in public schools in 1995, compared with 490,000 AI/AN students in fall 2018 (the last year of data available).
     
  • In fall 2018, less than half of AI/AN students (40 percent) attended schools where minority students comprised at least 75 percent of the student population.
     
  • There are approximately 45,000 American Indian/Alaska Native students served by approximately 180 Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools located on 64 reservations in 23 states.
     
  • In school year 2018–19, the adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) was 74 percent for AI/AN public school students. The ACGRs for AI/AN students ranged from 51 percent in Minnesota to 94 percent in Alabama and were higher than the U.S. average in eight states (Texas, Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Connecticut, New Jersey, Alabama, and Kentucky).
     
  • In 2020, 95 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds who were AI/AN had completed at least high school.

 

Postsecondary Education

  • In academic year 2018–19, 14 percent of bachelor’s degrees conferred to AI/AN graduates were in a STEM field.
     
  • About 41 percent of AI/AN students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree full-time at a 4-year institution in fall 2013 completed that degree at the same institution within 6 years.

 

 

By Mandy Dean, AIR

Celebrating National Principals Month With the National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS)

October is National Principals Month. Whether developing a long-term strategic vision or carrying out the day-to-day management of school operations, our nation’s principals and school administrators are essential leaders in our children’s education. This blog provides information about the backgrounds of our public school principals, including the education that they received. Data are drawn from the 2017–18 National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS).

The NTPS collects information about school conditions and the demographics of K–12 public and private school teachers and principals directly from the school staff themselves. Data are available both nationally and by state (via the NTPS State Dashboard) and are used by policymakers and researchers to make funding and other policy decisions.

 

Demographics and Characteristics of Principals

  • In the 2017–18 school year, 1 percent of all public school principals were Asian, 11 percent were Black or African American, 9 percent were Hispanic, regardless of race,1 less than 1 percent were Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 78 percent were White, and 2 percent were Other2 races.
     
  • Seventy-nine percent of all principals in traditional public schools were White, compared with 67 percent of principals in public charter schools (figure 1).
     
  • Fifty-four percent of all public school principals were female. A higher percentage of primary school principals were female (67 percent) than were middle school (40 percent), high school (33 percent), or combined school (43 percent) principals.  

Figure 1. Percentage of school principals, by race/ethnicity and school type: 201718


Educational Attainment and Professional Experiences of Principals

NCES would like to thank every principal and administrator whose guidance and determination advances successes for public school students across the United States each and every day.

The data in this blog would not be possible without the participation of teachers, principals, and school staff in the NTPS. We have recently concluded the 2020–21 NTPS; to learn more about teachers’ and principals’ experiences during the coronavirus pandemic, please stay tuned for an upcoming report.

If you or your school was contacted about participating in the 2021–22 Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS) or Principal Follow-up Survey (PFS) and you have questions, please email ntps@census.gov or call 1-888-595-1338.

For more information about the National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS), please visit https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/ntps/. More findings and details are available in the NTPS schoolteacher, and principal reports.

 

By Julia Merlin, NCES


[1] Principals who selected Hispanic, which includes Latino, as their ethnicity are referred to as Hispanic regardless of race. All other race categories in this blog exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity.

[2] Other includes American Indian/Alaska Native and Two or more races.

[3] For the 2017–18 NTPS, the last school year was the 2016–17 school year.