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This question leads you to data on the total number of students in our nation's K–12 schools, which provides you with a context for comparing your schools to others.

National Data

According to the U.S. Department of Education Web site Ed Data Express, the total number of K–12 students in 2009 was 49,809,606.

Data Source

Relying on data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics’ Common Core of Data, Ed Data Express calculates total student enrollment at the national and state levels. District and school level enrollment data can be found at the Web site SchoolMatters.

Summary

Total enrollment includes all students who attended public school within a given school year. While the data is collected by NCES, the best source for district and school level data is SchoolMatters , a source of easy-to-use information to make comparisons across schools.

How to Use the Data

You can use this data to evaluate your school enrollment and compare your school and district to other schools and districts across the country. When broken down by student sub-groups, this data can provide the context for evaluating the degree to which students have equitable access to resources and programs.

How the details were measured

The data is reported as the total number of students in a given year. It can be broken down by ethnicity, students with disabilities, and student eligibility for free- and reduced-price lunch.

Limitations of the data

States and districts vary in how they define enrollment. Some don’t include non-traditional students in their counts—like a student who attends a state-operated residential school—while others do. You should be sure to keep your local definitions in mind when comparing schools and districts, since they can have a significant impact on the data.

Key Questions to Ask

Does our school have high mobility rates?

In order to calculate total enrollment, states and districts typically conduct an annual head count of students on October 1. But if a school or district typically has a large number of students moving in and out throughout the year, then the enrollment figures calculated on October 1 may not be a reliable indicator of the school’s average enrollment over the course of the school year.

Learn More

To calculate total enrollment, both Ed Data Express and SchoolMatters  rely on data from NCES’s Common Core of Data (CCD), a program that collects basic statistical information from every school in the nation. However, data from these sites may not always match exactly with CCD data because states may submit changes and updates to their data. More information about the CCD system is available for downloading. You can also download the CCD data, although it may not always correspond with local data due to differences in data collection and reporting.

Additional Resources

Demonstrating success:

Embracing a spirit of innovation at Walden III—This school’s small size breeds trust, familiarity, and a family atmosphere, all factors that help inspire students to take responsibility for their present and future.