Financial information included questions on tuition and fees and scholarship and on financial aid from parents to respondents and to any siblings. There were items on work history, salary income, work hours per week, unemployment periods, job training and satisfaction. Family information covered the spouse’s occupation and education, date of marriage, number of children, and income and benefits received by respondent and spouse.

The third follow-up survey was conducted in 1986. Both the cohorts received the same questionnaire. To maintain comparability, many items were repeated. Respondents provided updated information on items asked in previous surveys. Event history formats were used for obtaining responses about jobs held, schools attended, periods of unemployment, and marriage patterns. New items included interest in graduate degree programs and alcohol consumption habits.

National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88)

The National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88) was initiated in 1988 with a cohort of eighth graders. The survey sought to study the transition from elementary education to secondary education and was the first to do so. The cohort was resurveyed through four follow-ups in 1990, 1992, 1994, and 2000. In the 1990 follow-up survey, the sample was augmented with new participants who were tenth graders in 1990. This was done to create a comparison group with HS&B. In the 1992 follow-up survey, the sample was augmented with twelfth graders to focus on transition issues from high school to postsecondary education. Another purpose was to create a dataset so as to make trend analyses with 1972 and 1982 senior classes from NLS72 and HS&B surveys. The freshening of the sample not only provided comparability to earlier cohorts from BLS72 and HS&B, but also enabled researchers to conduct both grade-representative cross-sectional and subsequent longitudinal analyses with the data. Students identified as dropouts in the first follow-up were resurveyed in 1992. In late 1992 and early 1993, high school transcripts were collected and in the fall of 2000 and early 2001, postsecondary transcripts were collected. On the questionnaires, students reported on a range of topics, including school, work, and home experiences; educational resources and support; the role in education of their parents and peers; neighborhood characteristics; educational and occupational aspirations; and other student perceptions.

For the three in-school waves of data collection (when most were eighth-graders, sophomores, or seniors), achievement tests in reading, social studies, mathematics and science were also administered. To further enrich the data, students’ parents (1988 and 1992), teachers and school administrators (1988, 1990, 1992) were also surveyed. Coursework and grades from students’ high school and postsecondary transcripts were also collected. In the base-year survey conducted from 1987 to 1988, data was collected on educational processes and outcomes of student learning, indicators of dropping out and school effects on students’ access

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