to pursue and when, why, and how are crucial questions for HSLS:09, especially but not solely in regards to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses, majors, and careers. This study features a new student assessment in algebraic skills, reasoning, and problem-solving. It includes, like past studies, surveys of students, their parents, math and science teachers, and school administrators, and also adds a new survey of school counselors. The first wave of data collection for HSLS:09 began in the fall of 2009 and will produce not only a nationally representative dataset but also state representative datasets for each of ten states. The next data collection will occur in the spring of 2012.

National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1979

The National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1979 (NLSY79)13 is a nationally representative sample of 12,686 young men and women who were 14 to 22 years of age when first surveyed in 1979. During the years since that first interview, these young people typically have finished their schooling, moved out of their parents’ homes, made decisions on continuing education and training, entered the labor market, served in the military, married, and started families of their own. The cohort was interviewed annually through 1994. Since 1994, the survey has been administered biennially. Since 1986, detailed information on the development of children born to women in the NLSY79 cohort has supplemented the data on mothers and children collected during the main NLSY79.

NLSY79 is made up of three subsamples. The first is a cross-sectional sample of 6,111 noninstitutionalized youths. The second, supplemental sample of 5,295 youths is designed to oversample Hispanics, Blacks, and economically disadvantaged non-Hispanic and non-Black individuals. The third is a military sample of 1,280 youths enlisted in one of the four branches of the armed forces. The retention rate for the survey remained around 90 percent till 1994, after which it started dropping. In 2002 it was 77.5 percent. The 13 data elements in NLSY79 are

  • Labor market experiences
  • Training investments
  • Schooling, school records, and aptitude information
  • Military experience
  • Income and assets
  • Health conditions, injuries, and insurance coverage
  • Alcohol and substance use, criminal behavior
  • Attitudes and aspirations
  • Geographic residence information
  • Family background and demographic characteristics

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13See http://www.bls.gov/nls/handbook/2005/nlshc3.pdf [November 2010].



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