Federal Report Explores Key Indicators of Education, Including Homeschooling, Pandemic-era College Decisions

close up photo of survey spreadsheet

Arlington, Virginia, June 02, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) this week released the annual Condition of Education report, a congressionally mandated compendium of multiple data points about all levels of education. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) provided technical and editorial support for the report, including improvements that make the data more accessible and easier for policymakers, researchers, and the general public to use. 

NCES, part of the Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education, publishes the report, which includes key indicators on education, from Pre-K to postsecondary; labor force outcomes; and international comparisons. In partnership with NCES staff, AIR made key contributions to the 2022 Condition of Education, including: 

  • Authoring two “spotlights” that explore data on homeschooling before and during the pandemic and how the pandemic affected postsecondary plans;
  • Creating the report’s first interactive graphics, which make the data more engaging and easier to understand for the public. For this first year, about 20 percent of the report’s online graphics are interactive; and
  • Developing the report’s first-ever machine-readable tables, allowing the data to be more easily downloaded and used by researchers to study outcomes and used by policymakers to inform decision-making.

“AIR is pleased to work with NCES on this important report that provides key data that can inform decisions made at the federal, state, and local level and can spur further research into educational effectiveness and equity,” said Jessica Heppen, senior vice president for AIR’s Human Services division. “We are especially pleased to help NCES make technical improvements that make this report more user-friendly and make the data more accessible.” AIR’s technical work is helping NCES comply with the requirements of the Open Government Data Act and the Evidence-Based Policymaking Act.


AIR staff authored two spotlights that are a part of the Condition of Education and provide insight into particular indicators around educational decisions made during the pandemic. 

Homeschooled Children and Reasons for Homeschooling: This spotlight uses data from two surveys to explore trends in homeschooling prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the findings: 

  • About 2.8% of K-12 students were homeschooled in 2019, according to the National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES), which is slightly lower than 2012 (3.4%) but higher than 1999 (1.7%);
  • Some of the most frequent reasons respondents gave for homeschooling in 2019, according to the NHES, were concerns about school environment; a desire to provide moral instruction; and emphasis on family life together; and
  • In 2020-21, according to results of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, about 6.8% of adults with a child or children living in the household reported that at least one of those children was being homeschooled. (NOTE: Because of the different surveys, this figure is not comparable to the NHES data.) 

Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Fall Plans for Postsecondary Education: Using data from the Household Pulse Survey, this spotlight explores how the pandemic changed plans for those who were expecting to take postsecondary classes in fall 2021. The data reflect responses from households where at least one person was planning to take postsecondary classes this past fall and among the findings: 

  • About 44% of households reported that there were no changes to postsecondary plans, meaning more than half did experience at least one type of change;
  • About 16% of households reported that all plans to take classes in the fall had been canceled for at least one household member. Nearly half (48%) of these respondents reported that the reason for the cancellations was not being able to afford classes or educational expenses due to changes in income caused by the pandemic;
  • Other changes to postsecondary plans included a change in the format of classes, such as moving from in-person to virtual (32%); taking fewer classes (12%); and taking classes for a different type of certificate or degree (5%).

AIR provides support to this and other NCES projects through the Education Statistics Services Institute Network contract.

About AIR
Established in 1946, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of education, health and the workforce. AIR’s work is driven by its mission to generate and use rigorous evidence that contributes to a better, more equitable world. With headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, AIR has offices across the U.S. and abroad. For more information, visit www.air.org

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