June 2014

JData Revealed: Part-Time Schools Over Time

Between 2011-12 and 2012-13, part-time schools maintained a consistent pattern, but with hints of change in enrollment, hours of instruction, and tuition.


Overall enrollment in part-time schools declined by 3% between 2011-12 and 2012-13. Data from the 513 schools providing information for both years shows a decline from 73,050 students to 70,852, a loss of over 2,000 students.

Although this trend affected both Reform and Conservative schools, the rate of decline was somewhat steeper in the Conservative schools. Conservative schools lost about 6% of their students as compared with just over 2% loss in Reform schools.1

As seen in Figure 1, the familiar pattern of peak enrollment in the mid-grades with a sharp and continuous decline in the post-bar/t mitzvah years holds for 2011-12 and 2012-13. Within this generally stable pattern, we can also see a decline in enrollment in most grades, with the largest loss in Grades 3, 5, and 9.

Figure 1. Grade by Grade Enrollment (2011-12 and 2012-13)

n=246 schools


1 Based on data from 147 Conservative schools and 223 Reform schools providing data in both 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Hours of Instruction

JData also tracks the number of hours per week offered by the congregational and other part-time schools. There have been concerns in some quarters that the number of hours is declining (often in response to parental preferences). The data, however, show that between 2011-12 and 2012-13, the average number of hours has at least held steady and at best increased marginally (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Average Weekly Hours by Grade (2011-12 and 2012-13)

n=246 schools

In general, time requirements have been higher in Conservative settings than in Reform settings. As seen in Figure 3, this pattern persists. For each grade, the first two bars show the Conservative-Reform differential in 2011-12; the next two bars show the differential in 2012-13. From kindergarten through the bar/t mitzvah year, Conservative schools consistently meet more hours per week. The difference essentially disappears in 8th grade. Within each movement, there is little change in hours of education from one year to the next.

Figure 3. Average Weekly Hours by Grade by Denomination (2011-12 and 2012-13)

n=94 schools (32 Conservative and 62 Reform)


Another key variable is tuition by grade. As seen in Figure 4, the pattern of tuition cost has remained the same over the past two years. Noticeable, however, is a marginal decrease in the mid-grades, and a slight increase in the upper grades.

Figure 4. Average Tuition by Grade (2011-12 and 2012-13)

n=94 schools (32 Conservative and 62 Reform)

Stay Tuned

JData is in the midst of a campaign to add 2013-14 data to the part-time school sector of the database. These data will help answer the following questions:

  • Will enrollment continue its slow decline or are the 2012-13 figures a "blip on the screen"?
  • Will average hours per week hold steady or will the hint of possible increase (particularly in high school) become more apparent?
  • Albeit small changes, it appears that weekly hours in high school are increasing at the same time that high school tuition, on average, is decreasing. Will this continue as a trend and, if so, will we see a positive impact on enrollment numbers in the upper grades?

Answers will be posted in the fall, so stay tuned!

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