Common measure: P-12 students

We reach students in the classroom to share a type of science they don’t normally get to see there. NOAA’s science is place-based and locally relevant, enabling students to make connections to their own lives. It is also conducted aboard ships, at the bottom of the ocean, in space, and inside hurricanes. Many of our programs reach students in formal classroom settings, so this common measure captures the number of P-12 students participating in our formal education programs.

Common measure

Output: Number of P-12 students who participated in NOAA-supported formal education programs.


Formal education programs: An organized set of educational activities that meet clearly defined learning objectives with a connection to the curriculum of the school or state. Programs and outreach for education activities provided by informal educators can be included. 

  • Examples include: classes, lab courses, workshops, seminars, field trips, internships, classroom presentations, synchronous or asynchronous online learning events.
  • P-12 students: Children attending public, private, or charters schools from kindergarten to grade 12, preschools, or are homeschooled.
  • Students can be counted more than once, if they participated in more than one distinct education program in a federal fiscal year. Students can be counted once per program per year if the program occurs over multiple years.

NOAA-supported: Report on all programs that are provided by NOAA directly or by partners with a "substantial involvement" by NOAA. Substantial involvement includes funding, facilities, or staff time; in other words convened, coordinated, funded, presented, or co-presented by NOAA staff. Program content or design must involve NOAA science, NOAA data, or NOAA asset.

Data collection and reporting

Administrative records: Staff for each NOAA-supported formal education program is responsible for maintaining administrative records that document the number of participants for the current fiscal year.

  • B-WET exception: National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRS) and Sea Grant can be grantees of other NOAA grant programs, including the Bay-Watershed Education and Training (BWET) Program and the Environmental Literacy Program. As a result, we acknowledge that there will likely be some double-counting of data reported.

Unified Data Call: An annual collection of output measures, disaggregations, and outyear estimates data from each Education Council member seat. Data collected in the Unified Data Call is used for both internal NOAA reporting purposes, which includes the Annual Operating Plan (AOP), and for external reporting purposes, including NOAA Education Annual Accomplishments Report and Congressional briefings.


  • FY2010: This output measure was first reported.
  • FY2011: The following measure was reported as: Number of K-12 students participating in in-person, school-based programs or activities that integrate NOAA sciences, data, and other information.
  • FY2012-2013: The following measure was approved by the Education Council on August 31, 2012 and reported as: Number of preK-12 students who participated in formal education programs that enhance understanding and use of ocean, coastal, Great Lakes, weather, and climate information to promote stewardship and to increase informed decision making.
  • FY2014: The output measure was modified on March 24, 2014 to align with annual accomplishments for FY13.
  • FY2017: The definitions were revised for clarity and published on the NOAA Education website.