The purpose of this appendix is to provide an overview of data sources on education statistics. Data sources can be categorized by their unit of analysis or their collecting agencies. Unit of analysis may be an institution, faculty, student, or household. Collection agencies include federal agencies, state agencies, or private data-collection agencies. A tabular summary of the available education data sources is presented in the following pages (Table C.1). More detailed explanation of each data source follows the table.
Much of the text of the appendix is reproduced from the government websites referenced herein, especially sites maintained by the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Science Foundation. Direct links to Web pages are provided as footnotes where appropriate.
TABLE C.1 Summary of Education Data Sources
|Name of Survey||Collection Agency||Objective of the Survey||Unit of Analysis||Time Period||Survey Componentsa|
|Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)||National Center for Educations Statistics (NCES)||Collect data on postsecondary education in the United States.||Educational Institutions||Collected annually from 1989||Institutional Characteristics, Institutional Prices, Enrollment, Student Financial Aid, Degrees and Certificates Conferred, Student Persistence and Success, and Institutional Human and Fiscal Resources.|
|Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS)||NCES||Predecessor to IPEDS. Currently not active. The Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS) system was conducted by the NCES between 1966 and 1985. These surveys collected institution-level data on such topics as institutional characteristics, enrollment, degrees conferred, salaries, employees, financial statistics, libraries, and others. Surveys were sent to approximately 3,400 accredited institutions of higher education.|
|National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF)||NCES||Provide data about faculty to postsecondary education researchers, planners, and policy makers.||Faculty||Four Cycles: 1987-1988; 1992-1993; 1998-1999; and 2003-2004||Institution Survey; Department Chairperson Survey and Faculty Survey|
|National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS)||NCES||Examine how students and their families pay for postsecondary education. NPSAS data provide the base-year sample BPS and B&B.||Student. Nationally representative sample of all students (graduate, first-professional, and undergraduate) enrolled in postsecondary education institutions.||Six Cycles: 1986-1987; 1989-1990; 1992-1993; 1995-1996; 1999-2000; and 2003-2004||Major Field of Study; Tuition and Fees; Date First Enrolled, and Other Information from Institution Records|
|Baccalaureate and Beyond (B&B)||NCES||Follow students who complete their baccalaureate degrees. Initially, students in the NPSAS surveys are identified as being in their last year of undergraduate studies.||Student. Drawn from NPSAS sample. Students who completed bachelor’s degrees in academic year of the NPSAS survey.||Three Cycles: 1993-1994, 1997, 2003; 2000-2001; and 2008||Time to Bachelor’s Degree; Undergraduate Education; Employment; Postbaccalaureate Enrollment and Student Characteristics|
|Recent College Graduates (RCG)||NCES||Analyze the occupational outcomes and educational experiences of bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients who graduated from colleges and universities in the continental United States.||Student||Periodically: 1976-1991. B&B replaced RCG||Degree Programs; College Experiences; Employment Opportunities; Student Work Experiences and Teaching Credentials|
|Name of Survey||Collection Agency||Objective of the Survey||Unit of Analysis||Time Period||Survey Componentsa|
|Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS)||NCES||Collect information on all students who entered postsecondary education for the first time. Includes all types of postsecondary educational institutions: public institutions; private, not-for-profit institutions; and private, for-profit institutions.||Student. Drawn from NPSAS sample. Students identified as first-time beginning students.||Three academic years: 1989-1990, 1990-1991, and 1991-1992||Student Characteristics; Institutional Characteristics and Degree Programs; Student Educational Experiences; Financing Postsecondary Education; Student Work Experiences; Marriage and Family Information; Civic Participation and Noncredit Education Activities|
|National Household Education Survey (NHES)||NCES||Collect information from households on a variety of educational issues.||Household||Nine Cycles: 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, and 2007||Adult Education; Before- and After-School Programs and Activities; Early Childhood Program Participation; Parent and Family Involvement in Education; Civic Involvement; Household Library Use; School Readiness; School Safety and Discipline|
|Wisconsin Longitudinal Study of 1957||National Institute on Aging (NIA)||Provide study of life course from late adolescence to early/mid-60s.||Student. Random sample of 10,317 men and women who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957 and of their randomly selected brothers and sisters. Survey data were collected from the original respondents or their parents in 1957, 1964, 1975, and 1993, and from a selected sibling in 1977 and 1994.||Five Cycles: 1957, 1964, 1975-1977, 1992-1994, 2002-2005 (47 years)||Data from the original respondents or their parents from 1957 to 1975 cover social background, youthful and adult aspirations, schooling, military service, family formation, labor market experience, and social participation. The 1992-1993 surveys cover occupational histories; income, assets, and economic transfers; social and economic characteristics of parents, siblings, and children; and mental and physical health and well-being. Parallel interviews have been carried out with siblings in 1977 and 1993-1994. The current round of survey data collection from graduates, siblings, and their spouses or widows began late in 2003. These new data repeat many previous measures, but add more extensive data on health, health behaviors, health insurance, psychological and cognitive functioning, family relations, social and civic participation, religiosity, and preparation for retirement and for the end of life.|
|Name of Survey||Collection Agency||Objective of the Survey||Unit of Analysis||Time Period||Survey Componentsa|
|National Longitudinal Survey of Class of 1972 (NLS 72)||NCES||Provide ongoing and updated database of sample of high school seniors and their experiences.||Student. Participants in the study were selected when they were seniors in high school in the spring of 1972, and in a supplementary sample drawn in 1973.||Follow-up surveys in 1973, 1974, 1976, 1979, and 1986 (14 years)||General Information; Education and Training; Work Experience; Family Status; Military Service; Activities and Opinions and Background Information|
|High School and Beyond (HSB)||NCES||Follow the educational, vocational, and personal development of young people.||Student. Consists of two cohorts: 1980 senior class, and the 1980 sophomore class.||Both cohorts were surveyed every 2 years through 1986, and the 1980 sophomore class was also surveyed again in 1992. (6 years)||Background Information; Work Experience; Periods of Unemployment; Education; Other Training; Family Information; Income; Experiences and Opinions|
|National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS 88)||NCES||Same as above.||Student. Cohort of students who were in the eighth grade in 1988.||First follow-up in 1990. Second one in 1992 and third one in 1994. Final follow-up in 2000. (12 years)||Demographic Characteristics and Eighth-Grade Status; Education; Current Activities; Employment and Income; Marriage and Parental Status; Volunteer and Leisure Time Variables|
|Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS 2002)||NCES||Monitor the progress of sample of tenth graders from high school to postsecondary education to work.||Student. Nationally representative sample of high school sophomores in 2002 spring term.||First follow-up in 2004 and second follow-up in 2006. Third follow-up planned in 2012. (10 years)||Student: School Experience and Activities; Plans for the Future; Language; Money and Work; Family and Beliefs and Opinions About Self. Teacher: Teacher Background and Activities.|
|Library and Media Center: Policies, Facilities, Staffing, Technology; School Administrator: Student and Teacher Characteristics; Structure and Policies.|
|High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS 2009)||NCES||Understand the trajectory of sample of ninth graders from high school to postsecondary education to work. Concentration on factors determining choices toward STEM fields.||Student. Cohort of ninth graders in 2009.||First follow-up is planned for 2012. Final follow-up in 2021. (13 years)||Student: Student Background, Previous School Experience, Math Experiences, Science Experiences, Home and School, Postsecondary Education Plans, Life After High School.|
|Parent: Family Structure, Origin and Language, Parental Education and Occupation, Student’s Educational Experience, Parental Involvement, Student’s Future.|
|Teacher: Background, Math and Science Department and Instruction, Beliefs about Teaching and Current School. School Counselor: Staffing and Practice, Program and Policies, Math and Science Placement, Opinions and Background.|
|School Administrator: School Characteristics, Student Population, School’s Teachers, Courses Offered, Goals and Background.|
|Name of Survey||Collection Agency||Objective of the Survey||Unit of Analysis||Time Period||Survey Componentsa|
|National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY 79)||Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)||Study changes over time and examines cause-effect relationships.||Student. Nationally representative sample of 12,686 young men and women who were 14-22 years old when they were first surveyed in 1979.||These individuals were interviewed annually through 1994 and are currently interviewed on a biennial basis. (32 years in 2010)||Attitudes, Expectations, and Noncognitive Tests; Crime and Substance Use; Education, Training, and Cognitive Tests; Employment; Health; Income, Assets, and Program Participation; Fertility, Children, and Childcare; Parents, Family Processes, and Childhood; Household, Geographic, and Contextual Variables; Relationships, Dating, and Sexual Activity|
|National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY 97)||BLS||Study changes over time and examines cause-effect relationships.||Student. NLSY 97 consists of a nationally representative sample of 8,984 youths who were 12 to 16 years old as of December 31, 1996.||These individuals were interviewed annually. 13 rounds have taken place so far. (13 years in 2009)||Aptitude and Achievement Scores; Education; Employment; Expectations, Attitudes, Behaviors, and Time Use; Family Background and Demographic Characteristics; Health; Income, Program Participation, and Assets; Marital History, Childcare and Fertility; Training|
|Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering||National Science Foundation-National Institutes of Health (NSF-NIH)||Provide data on the number and characteristics of graduate students, postdoctoral appointees, and doctorate-holding nonfaculty researchers in science and engineering (S&E) and selected health fields.||Student and Academic Unit. All academic institutions in the United States and its territories that grant research-based master’s degrees or doctorates, appoint postdocs, or employ doctorate-holding nonfaculty researchers in S&E and selected health fields are eligible.||Collected periodically.||Enrollment Status, Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Citizenship, Primary Source and Mechanism of Support, Highest Degree Attained|
|Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED)||NSF||Provide data on number and characteristics of individuals receiving research doctoral degrees.||Student. All individuals receiving research doctorates from accredited U.S. institutions are asked to complete the survey.||Collected periodically from 1957-1958.||Enrollment Status, Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Citizenship, Primary Source and Mechanism of Support, Highest Degree Attained|
|Name of Survey||Collection Agency||Objective of the Survey||Unit of Analysis||Time Period||Survey Componentsa|
|Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR)||NSF||Gather information from individuals who have obtained a doctoral degree in a science, engineering, or health field.||Student. Recipients of doctoral degree in a science, engineering, or health field living in the U.S. during the survey reference week, who are noninstitutionalized and under age 76. Longitudinal survey follows recipients of research doctorates from U.S. institutions until age 76.||Collected biennially. Before 1993 data collected by National Research Council. For NSF. Under NSF there had been seven cycles till now-1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2006.||Enrollment Status, Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Disability Status, Citizenship, Primary Source and Mechanism of Support, Highest Degree Attained, Marital Status and Number of Children, Salary, Satisfaction and Importance of Various Aspects of Job, Occupation, Postdoctorate Status|
|National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG)||NSF||Provide data on the number and characteristics of experienced individuals with education and/or employment in science and engineering (S&E, or S&E-related fields).||Student. Respondents are individuals who recently received bachelor’s or master’s degrees in an S&E field from a U.S. institution, were living in the U.S. during the survey reference week, and are under age 76.||Two decade long biennial longitudinal surveys. One started in 1993 and the second one in 2003.||Demographic Characteristics, Immigrant Module (Year of Entry, Type of Visa, etc.), Number of Children; Educational History, School Enrollment Status; Employment Status, Salary, Satisfaction and Importance of Various Aspects of Job, Sector of Employment, Academic Employment and Work-Related Training; Publications and Patent Activities|
|National Survey of Recent College Graduates (NSRCG)||NSF||Gather information about individuals who recently obtained bachelor’s or master’s degrees in a science, engineering, or health (SEH) field.||Student. Respondents are individuals who recently received bachelor’s or master’s degrees in an SEH field from a U.S. institution, were living in the U.S. during the survey reference week, and are under age 76.||Collected biennially from 1993.||Enrollment Status, Gender, Race/Ethnicity, Disability Status, Citizenship, Primary Source and Mechanism of Support, Highest Degree Attained, Marital Status and Number of Children, Salary, Satisfaction and Importance of Various Aspects of Job, Occupation, Parental Education|
|State Student Unit-Record (SUR) Databases||Varies across states. Mostly State Higher Education Executive Officers Agency||Link statewide student record databases.||Student. Information on student’s background and academics.||The inception varies from state to state. California in 1970, Texas and Wisconsin in 1973. Latest to join is Kansas in 2002.||Demographics, Academic Background, Enrollment Status, Academic Activity, and Academic Attainment|
|National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)||Center for Survey Research supported by Pew Charitable Trust||Time use of undergraduate students and gains in learning from college/university education.||Student in a participating institution.||Annual survey starting from year 2000. Participation of institutions is by choice.||College Activities, Educational and Personal Growth, Opinions About Your School, Background Information|
|Name of Survey||Collection Agency||Objective of the Survey||Unit of Analysis||Time Period||Survey Componentsa|
|Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE)||Center for Survey Research and Center for Postsecondary Research||Measure gains in learning from high school education and college experiences of first-year entering students.||Student in a participating institution.||Annual survey starting from year 2007. Institutions participating in NSSE are eligible.||High School Experiences, College Experiences, Additional Information|
|Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE)||Center for Survey Research and Center for Postsecondary Research||Measure faculty expectations of student engagement.||Faculty in a participating institution.||Annual survey starting from year 2003. Institutions participating in NSSE are eligible.||Student Engagement, Faculty-Student Interaction, Opinions About Learning and Development, Time Use|
|Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE)||Community College Leadership Program at UT Austin||Measure gains in learning from community college education. Provide data on time use by community college students.||Student in a participating institution.||Annual survey starting from year 2001.||College Activities, Educational and Personal Growth, Opinions About Your School, Background Information Starting in 2006 supplemental questions added with a different focus each year|
|Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (CCFSSE)||Center for Survey Research and Center for Postsecondary Research||Measure faculty expectations of student engagement in community colleges.||Faculty in a participating institution.||Annual survey starting from year 2005.||Student Engagement, Faculty-Student Interaction, Opinions About Learning and Development, Opinions About Services Provided, Time Use, Background Information|
|Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE)||Center for Postsecondary Research. Cosponsored by Association of American Law Schools and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.||Provide data on time use by law students and gains in learning from law school.||Student in a participating institution.||Annual survey starting from year 2004.||College Activities, Educational and Personal Growth, Opinions About Your School, Background Information|
|International Student Enrollment Survey||Institute for International Education||Gather information on international students enrolled in United States.||International Student. An individual who is studying at an institution of higher education in the United States on a temporary visa that allows for academic coursework.||Data collected since 1919.||Enrollment, Primary Source of Funding, Field of Study, Places of Origin, Academic Level, Institutions Enrolled in|
|Study Abroad Survey||Institute for International Education||Gather information on U.S. students taking courses in foreign institutions.||U.S. Student receiving credit from an institution of higher education in the United States after study abroad experience.||Data collected since 1985.||Destination Country, Field of Study, Duration of Stay, Foreign Institution, Academic Level, Gender, Ethnicity, Visa Status|
|National Student Clearinghouse (NSC)||National Student Clearinghouse||Verify student degrees, certifications, student enrollment statuses.||Student. Gather data on student loan recipients.||Started in 1995. Data collected annually.||Name, Birth Date, School Name, Dates of Attendance, Degree Earned|
aThe survey designs and instruments of most of the surveys listed have changed over time. The survey components column reflects the items in the most recent cycle of the survey.
INTEGRATED POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION DATA SYSTEM
The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)1 consists of seven interrelated surveys conducted annually by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). IPEDS gathers information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs. More than 6,700 institutions complete IPEDS surveys each year. These include research universities, state colleges and universities, private religious and liberal arts colleges, for-profit institutions, community and technical colleges, nondegree-granting institutions such as beauty colleges, and others. IPEDS collects data on postsecondary education in the United States in seven areas: institutional characteristics, institutional prices, enrollment, student financial aid, degrees and certificates conferred, student persistence and success, and institutional human and fiscal resources. The seven survey components covering the seven areas are
- Institutional Characteristics Survey (IC)
- Fall Enrollment Survey (EF)
- Completions Survey (C)
- Graduation Rate Survey (GRS)
- Student Financial Aid Survey (SFA)
- Finance Survey (F)
- Fall Staff Survey (S)
- Employees by Assigned Position (EAP)
- Reporting Salaries Survey (SA)
The data collection cycle of IPEDS is summarized in Table C.2.
Reporting by institutions to IPEDS is mandatory under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (20 U.S.C. 1094, Section 487(a)(17) and 34 CFR 668.14(b)(19)). Starting in 1991, IPEDS data is available on institutional characteristics, enrollment, completions, and finance. Data on enrollment by age, fall staff and residence of first-time freshman are available in alternate years. Other surveys have been added: the Graduation Rate Survey (GRS) in 1997, Student Financial Aid (SFA) in 1999, and Employees by Assigned Position (EAP) in 2001.
The Institutional Characteristics (IC) survey collects basic institutional information including mission, system affiliations, student services, and athletic association. The IC survey also collects institutional pricing data from institutions for first-time, full-time, degree- or certificate-seeking undergraduate students. This includes tuition and fee data as well as information on the estimated budgets
TABLE C.2 Data Collection Cycle of IPEDS
|Fall (Sept.-Nov.)||Institutional Characteristics, Completions|
|Winter (Dec.-Feb.)||Human Resources, Enrollment, Finance|
|Spring (March-May)||Enrollment, Finance, Student Financial Aid, Graduation Rates|
for students based on living situations (on-campus or off-campus). Enrollment data is collected in various forms: fall enrollment, residence of first-time full-time students, age distribution of enrolled students, unduplicated head count of students enrolled over a 12-month period, total credit and/or contact hours delivered by institutions during a 12-month period, the number of incoming students (both freshman and transfer) due to various institutional missions and points of access. The percentage of full-time, first-degree, or certificate-seeking students who receive different types of grants and loans and the average dollar amount of aid received is available from SFA.
IPEDS collects data on the number of students who complete a postsecondary education program by type of program and level of award (certificate or degree). In 2003, IPEDS also started collecting information on persistence rates. EAP has information on all employees by full- or part-time status, faculty status, and occupational activity. SA and S surveys contain information on number of full-time instructional faculty by rank, gender, and length of contract/teaching period; total salary outlay and fringe benefits; and demographic and occupational characteristics. Finance data includes institutional revenues by source, expenditures by category, and assets and liabilities. IPEDS data forms the institutional sampling frame for other NCES postsecondary surveys, such as the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study and the National Survey of Postsecondary Faculty.
National Study of Postsecondary Faculty
The National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (NSOPF)2 was a nationally representative sample of full- and part-time faculty and instructional staff at public and private not-for-profit two- and four-year institutions in the United States. It provided data about faculty and instructional staff to postsecondary education researchers and policy makers. The study was initially conducted during the 1987-1988 school year and was repeated in 1992-1993, 1998-1999, and 2003-2004.
The 1987-1988 wave consisted of three major components: an institutional survey, a faculty survey, and a department chair survey. The institutional survey used a stratified random sample of 480 institution-level respondents and had a
response rate of 88 percent. The faculty survey used a stratified random sample of 11,013 eligible faculty members within the participating institutions and had a response rate of 76 percent. The department chair survey used a stratified random sample of 3,029 eligible department chairpersons (or their equivalent) within the participating two-year and four-year institutions and had a response rate of 80 percent. The 1988 NSOPF gathered information on backgrounds, responsibilities, workloads, salaries, benefits, and attitudes of full-time and part-time instructional faculty in higher educational institutions. Information was collected on faculty composition, turnover and recruitment, retention and tenure policies from institutional and department-level respondents.
The second cycle of NSOPF was conducted by NCES with support from the National Science Foundation and National Endowment for Humanities. NSOPF:93 was limited to surveys of institutions and faculty, but with a substantially expanded sample of 974 colleges and universities, and 31,354 faculty and instructional staff. NSPOF:99 included 960 degree-granting postsecondary institutions and approximately 18,000 faculty and instructional staff. The fourth cycle of NSOPF was conducted in 2003-2004 and included 1,080 degree-granting postsecondary institutions and approximately 26,000 faculty and instructional staff. There are no plans to repeat the study. Rather, NCES plans to provide technical assistance to state postsecondary data systems and to encourage the development of robust connections between faculty and student data systems so that key questions concerning faculty, instruction, and student outcomes can be addressed.
National Postsecondary Student Aid Study
The purpose of National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS)3 is to compile a comprehensive research dataset on financial aid provided by the federal government, the states, postsecondary institutions, employers, and private agencies. The dataset is based on student-level records and includes student demographic and enrollment data. NPSAS uses a nationally representative sample of all students (graduate, first-professional, and undergraduate) enrolled in postsecondary educational institutions. Students attending all types and levels of institutions are represented in the samples, including public and private for-profit and not-for-profit institutions and from less-than-two-year institutions to four-year colleges and universities.
NPSAS data come from multiple sources, including institutional records, government databases, and student interviews. Detailed data on participation in student financial aid programs are extracted from institutional records. Data about family circumstances, demographics, education and work experiences, and student expectations are collected from students through a Web-based multi-mode interview (self-administered and computer-assisted telephone interview, CATI).
The first study (NPSAS:87) was conducted during the 1986-1987 school year; subsequently, NPSAS has been conducted triennially.
Each study is designed to cover students enrolled in a postsecondary institution from July 1 through June 30 financial aid award year. In the first study, data was gathered from 1,130 institutions, 55,000 students, and 16,000 parents. In the 1989-1990 survey, the number of students increased to 70,000. These data provided information on the costs of postsecondary education, distribution of financial aid and characteristics of unaided and aided students and their families.
Content areas in NPSAS include student demographics (birth date, gender, ethnicity/race), household composition, high school degree details, languages spoken, expectations, marital status, number of dependents; enrollment and education-admission tests taken, year taken, scores in admission tests, level of degree in the survey year, type of degree program, cumulative GPA, field of study, transfer credits if any, requirements for degree, tuition and charges for all terms enrolled during the survey year, factors in college choice; financial aid-receipt of aid, amount of aid received under various federal, state programs, institutional grants and scholarships and other award; student aid report-number of members in the student family, their educational status, if any of the members are currently enrolled in college, income tax details of student, parents and spouse, social security and investment details of parents, reasons for pursuing college degree, expectation of highest degree; employment and living expenses.
NPSAS data provide the base-year sample for the Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS) longitudinal study and the Baccalaureate and Beyond (B&B) longitudinal study. For BPS, the longitudinal cohort consisted of students beginning their postsecondary education during the NPSAS year (NPSAS:90, NPSAS:96, and NPSAS:04); BPS surveys followed these students over time to examine such issues as persistence and the effects of financial aid on subsequent enrollment. For B&B, NPSAS provided the base-year sample of students obtaining a baccalaureate degree during the NPSAS year (NPSAS:93 and NPSAS:2000); the B&B surveys followed these students over time to examine issues such as the transition from college to work and access to graduate school.
Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study
Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B)4 examines students’ education and work experiences after they complete a bachelor’s degree, with a special emphasis on the experiences of new elementary and secondary teachers. Following several cohorts of students over time, B&B looks at bachelor’s degree recipients’ workforce participation, income and debt repayment, and entry into and persistence through graduate school programs, among other indicators. It addresses several issues specifically related to teaching, including teacher prepara-
tion, entry into and persistence in the profession, and teacher career paths. B&B also gathers extensive information on bachelor’s degree recipients’ undergraduate experience, demographic backgrounds, and expectations regarding graduate study and work, and participation in community service.
The first B&B cohort (about 11,000 students) was drawn from the 1993 NPSAS and followed up by surveys in 1994, 1997, and 2003. It sampled students who completed bachelor’s degrees in academic year 1992-1993. The base-year interview collected information from students, institutions and parents on background characteristics, enrollment, employment, and education financing including financial aid. Students who received a degree during the survey period were asked additional questions about plans for the future, plans to pursue a graduate degree, and plans to pursue a teaching career in K-12. The first follow-up, conducted in 1994, provides information on the activities of these bachelor’s degree recipients in the year after graduation. Topics covered in the first follow-up were cumulative GPA, courses taken, grades earned, first and second majors’ field of study, job search, job training and transition to employment, family formation, civic participation and finances (student loans, debt and income). Transcript data was also collected from postsecondary institutions attended by respondents.
A second follow-up of the 1993 cohort, conducted in 1997, gathered information on postbaccalaureate enrollment, including degrees sought, enrollment intensity and duration, finances, and degree attainment. Employment information and experiences, such as the number of jobs held since the last interview, occupations, salaries, benefits, and job satisfaction, were also collected. Those already in or newly identified for teaching careers were asked questions about their preparation to teach, work experience at the K-12 level, and satisfaction with teaching as a career. The follow-up also updated information on family formation and civic participation.
The final follow-up interview of the B&B:93 cohort in 2003 (B&B:93/03) was conducted 10 years following degree completion. The 2003 interview covered topics related to continuing education, degree attainment, employment, career choice, family formation, and finances. Respondents were asked to reflect on the value of their undergraduate education and any other education obtained since receiving the bachelor’s degree to their lives now. There was a separate questionnaire for new teachers and those who left or continued in the teaching profession.
The second B&B cohort (about 10,000 students) was chosen from the 2000 NPSAS and followed up in 2001. The dataset contains information on enrollment, attendance, and student demographic characteristics. The second follow-up of second cohort covered topics such as high school education, undergraduate enrollment history, academic history, and debt burden. There were separate set of questions on first-year’s and first college’s enrollment status, marital status, academic performance, residence, employment, and financial aid. Information on civic and volunteer participation, postbaccalaureate enrollment, employment, job training, and current demographics was also collected. Just as in the third
follow-up of first cohort, there were supplemental sections for respondents in the teaching profession. The third cohort was drawn from the 2008 NPSAS sample. This group of approximately 19,000 sample members was followed up in 2009 and will be surveyed again in 2012.
Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study
Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study5 90/92 followed students identified as first-time beginning students in the academic year 1989-1990 from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study 1990 sample. The population of interest in BPS is all students who entered postsecondary education for the first time in academic year 1989-1990. The sample was designed to include students enrolled in all types of postsecondary education—public institutions; private, not-for-profit institutions; and private, for-profit institutions. The sample also included students enrolled in occupationally specific programs that lasted for less than two years. Institutions offering only correspondence courses, institutions enrolling only their own employees, and U.S. service academies were not eligible for NPSAS or BPS. Students eligible for BPS were identified in two stages.
Of the NPSAS 1990 sample, those who were identified as first-time enrollees were eligible for BPS and were retained in the 1992 interview. BPS data are nationally representative by institution level and control, but like NPSAS are not representative at the state level. A database of 11,700 NPSAS:90 participants that was believed to contain all possible full-time beginning students in the NPSAS:90 sample was used as the basis for selecting the BPS:90/92 sample. The initial set of 11,700 potential full-time beginning students contained 10,566 students who had been identified as probable undergraduate students, and 1,134 students who had been identified as probable graduate or first-professional students. A computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) was conducted two years after the NPSAS:90 survey. It obtained information concerning student characteristics, institutional characteristics and degree programs, student educational experiences, financing postsecondary education, student work experiences, marriage and family information, civic participation, and noncredit education activities.
The BPS:90/94 study was the second follow-up survey of the first cohort. The questionnaire had eight sections covering topics such as education experiences, employment experiences, other education or training, family and demographics, education financing, financial information, graduate school plans, and public service. The second cohort of BPS was constituted of individuals who started their postsecondary education in the 1995-1996 academic year. Data elements in the first follow-up of the second cohort (which took place in 1998) are first-time beginner status, basic demographic information, enrollment status in survey year, enrollment history, enrollment characteristics, financial aid and debt,
employment status, learning experience and outcomes, expectations, goals, and plans. A separate section addressed nontraditional students—those not pursuing college education immediately after high school. The second follow up of BPS:96 took place in 2001. It put more emphasis on employment, earnings, financial circumstances, postbaccalaureate enrollment, civic participation, and future goals. The third cohort of BPS constituted individuals who started their postsecondary education in the 2003-2004 academic year. They were followed up in 2006 and 2008. Data elements from BPS:04 were very similar to the second follow-up of BPS:96.
National Household Education Survey
The chief goal of the National Household Education Surveys (NHES)6 is to describe Americans’ educational experiences, thereby offering policy makers, researchers, and educators a variety of statistics on the condition of education in the United States. The NHES has been conducted in the springs of 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, and 2007. Surveys include the following:
|NHES Surveys||Data Collection Years|
|Adult Education||1991, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005|
|Before- and After-School Programs and Activities||1999, 2001, 2005|
|Early Childhood Program Participation||1991, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2005|
|Parent and Family Involvement in Education||1996, 1999, 2003, 2007|
|Civic Involvement||1996, 1999|
|Household Library Use||1996|
|School Readiness||1993, 1999, 2007|
|School Safety and Discipline||1993|
NHES is designed as a telephone survey of the noninstitutionalized civilian population. U.S. households in the survey are selected randomly using random digit dialing methods. Data is collected using CATI procedures. About 60,000 households were screened for NHES:91. In the Early Childhood Education component, about 14,000 parents/guardians of 3- to 8-year-olds provided information about their children’s early educational experiences: participation in nonparental care/education, care arrangements and school, and family, household, and child characteristics. The Adult Education component of the survey questionnaire was administered to 9,800 persons 16 years of age and older. They were identified as having participated in an adult education activity in the previous 12 months. Data were collected on programs of up to four courses, including the subject matter, duration, sponsorship, purpose, and cost. Information on the household and the adult’s background and current employment also were collected.
6Digest of Education Statistics 1995-2009 [November 2010].
In NHES:93, the sample size increased to 64,000 households. About 11,000 parents of 3- to 7-year-olds were interviewed for the School Readiness component. This included topics such as developmental characteristics of preschoolers, school adjustment and teacher feedback to parents of kindergartners and primary students, center-based program participation, early school experiences, home activities with family members, and health status. In the School Safety and Discipline component, about 12,700 parents of children in grades 3 through 12, and about 6,500 youth in grades 6 through 12, were interviewed about their school experiences. Topics included school learning environment, discipline policy, safety at school, victimization, the availability and use of alcohol/drugs, alcohol/drug education and peer norms for behavior in school and substance use. Extensive family and household background information and characteristics of the school attended by the child was also collected.
In NHES:95 survey, the Early Childhood Program Participation component and the Adult Education component were similar to those in 1991. In the Early Childhood component, about 14,000 parents of children from birth to third grade were interviewed. For the Adult Education component, 23,969 adults were sampled; 80 percent (19,722) completed the interview. In the spring of 1996, Parent and Family Involvement in Education and Civic Involvement were covered. For the Parent and Family Involvement component, nearly 21,000 parents of children in grades 3 to 12 were interviewed. For the Civic Involvement component, about 8,000 youth in grades 6 to 12, about 9,000 parents, and about 2,000 adults were interviewed. The 1996 survey also addressed public library use. Adults in almost 55,000 households were interviewed to support state-level estimates of household public library use.
NHES:99 collected end-of-decade estimates of key indicators from the surveys conducted throughout the 1990s. Approximately 60,000 households were screened. Key indicators are expected to include participation of children in nonparental care and early childhood programs, school experiences, parent/family involvement in education at home and at school, youth community service activities, plans for future education, and adult participation in educational activities and community service.
NHES:2001 included two surveys that were largely repeats of similar surveys included in earlier NHES collections. The Early Childhood Program Participation Survey and Adult Education and Lifelong Learning Survey were similar in content to NHES:1995. The Before- and After-School Programs and Activities Survey had a number of new items that collected information about what children were doing during the time spent in child care or in other activities, what parents were looking for in care arrangements and activities, and parent evaluations of care arrangements and activities. Nearly 10,900 adults completed Adult Education and Lifelong Learning Survey interviews. Parents of approximately 6,700 preschool children were interviewed. Parents of 9,600
children in K-8 completed Before- and After-School Programs and Activities Survey interviews.
NHES:2003 included two surveys, Adult Education for Work-Related Reasons and Parent and Family Involvement in Education. The adult education survey provides in-depth information on participation in training and education that prepares adults for work or careers and maintains or improves their skills.
NHES:2005 included surveys that covered Adult Education, Early Childhood Program Participation, and After-School Programs and Activities. Data were collected from about 8,900 adults, parents of about 7,200 preschool children and parents of nearly 11,700 children in K-8 for the After-School Programs and Activities survey. These surveys were very similar to NHES:2001, except for the Adult Education Survey (which included as a new topic informal learning activities for personal interest) and the Early Childhood Program Participation Survey and After-School Programs and Activities Survey (which did not collect information about before-school care for school-age children).
NHES:2007 fielded the Parent and Family Involvement in Education Survey and the School Readiness Survey. These surveys were similar in design and content to NHES:2003 and NHES:1993, respectively. The Parent and Family Involvement Survey included new questions about supplemental education services provided by schools and school districts (including use of and satisfaction with such services). There were questions to identify the school attended by the sampled students. School Readiness Survey included questions that collected details about television programs watched by the sampled children. For the Parent and Family Involvement Survey, interviews were completed with parents of 10,370 students enrolled in public or private schools and a sample of 311 homeschooled children in K-12. For the School Readiness Survey, interviews were completed with parents of 2,633 sampled children ages 3 to 6 years and not yet in kindergarten. Parents who were interviewed about children in K-2 were also asked some questions about these children’s school readiness.
Wisconsin Longitudinal Study of 1957
The Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS)7 follows a cohort of men and women born in 1939. The study is a rich data source to study trends as the cohort ages. WLS is also the first of the large, longitudinal studies of American adolescents, and it thus provides the first large-scale opportunity to study the life course from late adolescence through the later decades in the context of a complete record of ability, aspiration, and achievement. The WLS is a long-term study of a random sample of 10,317 men and women who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957. Survey data were collected from the original respondents or their parents in 1957, 1964, 1975, and 1993, and from a selected sibling in 1977
and 1994. The data provide a full record of social background, youthful aspirations, schooling, military service, family formation, labor market experiences, and social participation of the original respondents. The survey data from earlier years have been supplemented by mental ability tests (of primary respondents and 2,000 of their siblings), measures of school performance, and characteristics of communities of residence, schools and colleges, employers, and industries.
The WLS records for primary respondents are also linked to those of three same-sex high school friends within the study population. In 1977 the study design was expanded with the collection of parallel interview data for a highly stratified sub-sample of 2,000 siblings of the primary respondents. In the 1992-1993 round of the WLS, the sample was expanded to include a randomly selected sibling of every respondent with at least one brother or sister, and the content was extended to obtain detailed occupational histories and job characteristics; incomes, assets, and inter-household transfers; social and economic characteristics of parents, siblings, and children and descriptions of the respondents’ relationships with them; and extensive information about mental and physical health and well-being. Approximately 2,800 additional siblings were interviewed in the 1993-1994 round of the study. The WLS sample is mainly of German, English, Irish, Scandinavian, Polish, or Czech ancestry. Minorities (African American, Hispanic, or Asian persons) are not well-represented in the sample. Currently a project is under way to find all African Americans who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957. About 19 percent of the WLS sample is of farm origin. In all, 8,493 of the 9,741 surviving members of the original sample have been re-interviewed. The retention rate was 86.48 percent in 1964, and dropped to 29.67 percent in 2005.
Data topics in WLS are Alcohol Use, Aspirations, Assets, Care Giving, Children, Cognition, Conflicts Tactics Scale, Education, Employment History Details, Financial Intertransfers, Future Plans and Retirement, Health Insurance, Health Symptoms and Condition, High School Friend, Household, Income (Personal and Family), Job Characteristics, Marital and Fertility History, Menopause, Parents and Parents-in-law, Pensions, Personality, Psychological Distress, Psychological Well-Being, Religion, Selected Siblings, Social Background, Social Participation, Wealth, Work-Family Spillover.
National Education Longitudinal Studies
The National Education Longitudinal Studies (NELS) program was established to study the educational, vocational, and personal development of young people beginning with their elementary or secondary education. Thus far, the NELS program consists of five major studies:
- National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 (NLS72),8
- High School and Beyond (HS&B),9
- National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88),10
- Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002),11
- High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09).12
NLS72 followed the 1972 cohort of high school seniors through 1986, or fourteen years after most of this cohort completed high school. The HS&B survey included two cohorts: the 1980 senior class, and the 1980 sophomore class. Both cohorts were surveyed every two years through 1986, and the 1980 sophomore class was also surveyed again in 1992. NELS:88 started with the cohort of students who were in the eighth grade in 1988, and these students have been surveyed through 2000. ELS:2002 began with a cohort of high school sophomores in 2002. This cohort will be followed through 2012. HSLS:09 began with a cohort of ninth graders in 2009. The first follow-up is planned for 2012 when most of the students will be high school sophomores. Taken together, all the five studies will describe the educational experience of students from five decades—1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s.
National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972
The National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 (NLS72) is one of the longitudinal studies on a single generation of Americans. Participants in the study were selected when they were seniors in high school in the spring of 1972, and in a supplementary sample drawn in 1973. The records include the base year survey; follow-up surveys in 1973, 1974, 1976, 1979, and 1986; high school records; and postsecondary transcripts (collected in 1984). In 1968, NCES conducted a survey to determine the specific data needs of educational policy makers and researchers. The results of the survey pointed out the need for data that would allow inter-temporal comparisons of student outcomes. This finding gave rise to one of the first national longitudinal studies. The base year survey of NLS72 was conducted in spring of 1972 and comprised 19,001 students from 1,061 high schools. Each participating student was expected to complete a student questionnaire and take a 69-minute test battery. The sections in the first follow-up survey were general information, education and training, civilian work experience, military service, information about past and background information. The general information section had questions on occupational status of respondents,
receipt of high school degree, marital status and history, income of self and spouse, opinions about pursuing postsecondary education, financial choices and decisions, and attitudes toward life and work. The education and training section gathered information on participation in various training programs and their requisite details, field of study pursued by the respondents, details about high school attendance, reasons for leaving high school (if any), education and training progress after high school, sources and kinds of financial support provided to attend education and training programs after school. The section on civilian work experience asked NLS72 respondents about number of jobs held till survey date, satisfaction with various aspects of current jobs, kind of job (government, private, self-employed, working in family business/farm without pay), work hours per week, weekly earnings, and job search methods. The section on military service asked questions on periods of service, branch in which the respondent served, the field of training, and pay grades. Peer effect, education status, occupation of parents, college choice, and financial aid offered by various colleges was covered in the section on past information. The background information section collected basic information such as residence address, sex, and birth date.
The second follow-up survey was conducted from October 1974 to April 1975. It included a special retrospective survey to obtain key information about prior time points from those who had not provided this information previously. A third follow-up was conducted from October 1976 to May 1977. In the fourth follow-up survey, 5,548 respondents were asked to complete a supplemental questionnaire similar to the retrospective survey in the second follow-up. Additionally a test battery was conducted for 2,648 individuals. New sections on family formation and political participation were included. The retention rate until the fourth follow-up was 78 percent. In 1984, a Postsecondary Education Transcript Study was conducted. It collected transcripts from academic and vocational postsecondary educational institutions that respondents had reported attending.
The final follow-up survey was conducted in the spring of 1986 and included sections on general information, work experience, periods of unemployment, education, family information, child care, background information, income, expectations, and opinions. The general information section contained questions on occupation status, residence address, and birth date. The background information section contained items on race/ethnicity, current location of parents, and interaction with parents. The work experience section contained items on number and kinds of jobs held till survey date, details about each job, satisfaction with various aspects of current jobs, time spent in doing various activities involved in a job, relationship with supervisor, factors influencing job choices, and training programs on and off the job. The education section gathered information on enrollment status in college, details of each college attended, satisfaction with education and training, sources of financial aid, and plans for graduate studies. The income section gathered information on sources of income of respondents. The family formation section had items on spouses, partners and children, their
education status, kind of activities the respondent engaged in with them, sharing of financial resources in the household, and work hours of spouse. Questions on divorce, divorce settlements, financial, and custody issues from divorce were also included in this section. Political, community, and religious participation of respondents were addressed in the section on expectations and opinions. There were supplementary questions for individuals who considered a career in teaching.
High School and Beyond (HS&B)
High School and Beyond was designed to inform federal and state policy makers about student outcomes in the 1980s. It began in the spring of 1980 with a sample of 58,000 high school students—30,000 sophomores and 28,000 seniors. Follow-up surveys were conducted every two years; the final follow-up survey occurred in 1986. The 1980 sophomore class was surveyed again in 1992.
HS&B was designed to build on NLS72 in three ways. First, the base year survey of HS&B included a 1980 cohort of high school seniors that was directly comparable with the 1972 cohort. Replication of selected NLS72 student questionnaire items and test items made it possible to analyze changes that occurred subsequent to 1972 and their relationship to recent federal policies and programs in education. Second, the introduction of a sophomore cohort provided data on the many critical educational and vocational choices made between the sophomore and senior years in high school, permitting a fuller understanding of the secondary school experience and its impact on students. Finally, HS&B expanded the NLS72 focus by collecting data on a range of lifecycle factors, such as family-formation behavior, intellectual development, and social participation.
Survey instruments in the base year included student questionnaires, test battery, school questionnaire and parent questionnaire. The student questionnaires focused on individual and family background, high school experiences, work experiences, and plans for the future. The student identification pages included information that would be useful in locating the students for future follow-up surveys, as well as a series of items on the student’s use of, proficiency in, and educational experiences with languages other than English. The cognitive tests measured verbal and quantitative abilities in both cohorts. Of the 194 test items administered to the senior cohort, 86 percent were identical to the items administered to NLS72 respondents. School questionnaires, which were filled out by an official in each participating school, provided information about enrollment, staff, educational programs, facilities and services, dropout rates, and special programs for handicapped and disadvantaged students. The teacher comment checklist provided teacher observations on students participating in the survey. The parent questionnaire elicited information about how family attitudes and financial planning affected postsecondary educational goals.
Contents in the 1980 senior cohort first follow-up questionnaire included education (amount and type of postsecondary schooling completed, data on
schools attended, school financing, educational expectations and aspirations, and nonschool-based postsecondary training), work (labor force participation, detailed job histories, aspirations, military service), financial status (dependency, income), marital status (spouse’s occupation, education, dependents), and demographics (household composition, race, sex, ethnicity, and so forth). Questions on employment and schooling were constructed and arranged in an “event history” format in order to provide information suitable for analyses using advanced techniques for determining parameters of transition models.
The purpose of the sophomore cohort first follow-up questionnaire was to document secondary school experiences. Content areas included education (high school program, courses taken, grades, standardized tests taken, attendance and disciplinary behavior, parental involvement, extracurricular and leisure activities, assessment of quality of school and teachers), postsecondary education (goals, expectations, plans and financing), work/labor force participation (occupational goals, attitudes toward military service), demographics (parents’ education, father’s occupation, family composition, school age siblings, family income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sex, birth date, physical handicaps) and values (attitudes toward life goals, feelings about self and so forth). There was a separate questionnaire for persons who had dropped out of high school, members of the sophomore cohort who had transferred from their base year sample high school to another high school, and members of the sophomore cohort who graduated from high school ahead of schedule. Dropout supplement content areas included circumstances of leaving school, participation in training programs and other postsecondary education work, financial status, marital status, demographics, and other personal characteristics. Transfer supplement content areas were reasons for transferring and for selecting a particular school, identification of school, location, grade respondent was in at time of transfer, entrance requirements, length of interruption in schooling (if any) and reason, type of school, size of student body and grades. An early graduate supplement addressed reasons for graduating early, when decision was made, persons involved in the decision, course adjustments required, school requirements and postsecondary education and work experience.
The second follow-up survey was conducted in 1984. The senior cohort was asked to update background information and to provide information about postsecondary education, work experience, military service, family information, income and life goals. Event history formats were used for obtaining responses about jobs held, schools attended and periods of unemployment. New items included a limited series on computer literacy, financial assistance received from parents for pursuing postsecondary education, and education and training obtained outside of regular school, college or military programs. As the sophomore cohort was out of school by 1984, the follow-up survey had items taking this change into consideration. The questionnaire asked for detailed information (kind of school attended, hours per week spent in class, kind of degree sought, requirements completed) on schools attended after high school, for up to three schools.
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
to learning programs. Almost 25,000 students across the United States participated in the base-year study. Student questionnaires covered school experiences, activities, attitudes, educational, and occupational plans and aspirations, selected background characteristics and language proficiency. Students also completed a series of curriculum-sensitive cognitive tests to measure educational achievement and cognitive growth between eighth and twelfth grades in four subject areas: reading, mathematics, science, and social studies. School principals completed a questionnaire about the school. The administrator questionnaire gathered descriptive information about the school’s teaching staff, the school climate, characteristics of the student body, and school policies and offerings. Two teachers (in two of the four subject areas) of each student were asked to answer questions about the student, themselves (characteristics and classroom teaching practices), course content, and their school. One parent of each student was surveyed regarding family characteristics and student activities. Parent questionnaire included items on parental aspirations for children, family willingness to commit resources to children’s education, the home educational support system, and other family characteristics relevant to achievement.
The first follow-up was conducted in 1990 and did not include a parent questionnaire. The study frame included 19,264 students and dropouts, 1,291 principals, and 10,000 teachers. There were two more survey components: base-year ineligible study and high school effectiveness study. Respondents took a tenth grade level cognitive test in the four subject areas. The student questionnaire had items on school and home environments, participation in classes and extracurricular activities, current jobs, their goals and aspirations, and opinions about themselves. The dropout questionnaire collected information on reasons for leaving school, school experiences, absenteeism, family formation, plans for the future, employment, attitudes and self-concept, and home environment. The base-year ineligible study was conducted to ascertain 1990 school enrollment status and 1990 NELS:88 eligibility status of students who were excluded from base-year survey because of a language barrier or a physical or mental disability which precluded them from completing the questionnaire and cognitive test. After the study, 341 students became eligible and completed a supplemental questionnaire. The high school effectiveness study (HSES) was designed to allow augmentation of the within-school student sample to produce a subsample of urban and suburban schools. It allowed researchers to better study school effects on education.
The second follow-up took place in 1992 when most of the respondents are in the second semester of their senior year. Dropouts were also resurveyed. For selected subsamples, data was collected from parents, teachers, school administrators, and transcripts. Respondents took a twelfth grade level cognitive test in four subject areas. Student questionnaire items addressed academic achievement, perceptions and feeling about school and its curriculum, family structure and environment, social relations and aspirations, attitudes and values, and family decision-making structure during transition from school to college or work.
There was a supplement for early graduates. Only one teacher (either math or science) for each student was asked to complete the teacher questionnaire. There was no change in the school administrator questionnaire survey design. The dropout questionnaire had no new items from the previous follow-up. Two new components—high school transcript and course offerings—were initiated in the second follow-up. The high school transcript component collected transcript records from the high school respondents attended. The course offering component was for HSES. It provided a probability sample of schools with tenth graders who had a sizable representation in the within-school sample of students.
The third follow-up in 1994 addressed employment and postsecondary access issues. It was designed to allow continuing trend comparisons with other NCES longitudinal studies. Specific content areas included academic achievement, perceptions and feelings about school and job, detailed work experiences, work-related training and family structure and environment.
The fourth and final follow-up in 2000 included interviews with 12,144 members of the three NELS:88 sample cohorts 12 years after the base-year data collection. Most of the respondents had been out of high school, had already enrolled in postsecondary school or intended to do so, and many had families of their own. Interview topics included experiences with postsecondary education, labor market outcomes, job-related training, community integration and marriage and family formation. This follow-up also collected postsecondary transcripts from institutions that the respondents reported attending.
Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002)
The Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002) is designed to monitor the transition of a national sample of young people as they progress from tenth grade through high school and on to postsecondary education and/or employment. ELS:2002 is a multi-level study, in that information is collected from multiple respondent populations representing students and their parents, teachers, librarians, and schools. Student-level data comes from student questionnaires and assessment data and reports from students’ teachers and parents. The data collected from their teachers provides direct information about the student as well as the credentials and educational background information of the teacher. School-level data is gathered from a school administrator questionnaire, a library media center questionnaire and a facilities check list. This multi-level focus supplies researchers with a comprehensive picture of the home, school, and community environments and their influences on the student.
The base-year sample was comprised of two primary target populations: schools with a tenth grade and sophomore in those schools in the spring term of the 2001-2002 school year. The sample selection process had two stages. First, schools were selected. These schools were then asked to provide sophomore enrollment lists, from which students were selected. The sample design for
ELS:2002 is very similar to the design of NLS72, HS&B, and NELS:88. Nonpublic schools (specifically, Catholic and other private schools) were sampled at a higher rate, to ensure a sample large enough to support comparisons with public schools. Similarly, Asian students were sampled at a higher rate than Caucasian, African-American, and Hispanic students, to ensure a sample large enough to support comparisons with those groups. The base-year survey instruments were comprised of two assessments: reading and mathematics, and a student questionnaire asking about attitudes and experiences. Also included in the base-year sample were one parent of the sample student and English and mathematics teachers of the sample students. The parent questionnaire was designed to gauge parental aspiration for their child, child’s educational history prior to tenth grade, parental interactions with and opinions about the child’s school. The teacher questionnaire collected the teacher’s evaluation of the student and information on teaching practices, background and other activities of the teachers. The head librarian or media center director of each school completed the library media center questionnaire which provided information on staffing, available technical resources, collections and expenditures, and scheduling and transactions of library media center. The facilities checklist form collected information on condition of school building and facilities.
The ELS:2002 base-year sample students were surveyed and tested again two years later in 2004 to measure their achievement gains in mathematics, as well as changes in their status, such as transfer to another high school, early completion of high school, or leaving high school before graduation. The sample was also augmented by a sample of students who were in twelfth grade in 2004. Separate questionnaires were given to homeschooled students, early graduates, and dropouts. The student questionnaire was comprised of eight content modules as in the base survey. Part I requested contact information. Part II covered the student’s school experiences and activities. Part III, the time use module, inquired about time usage on homework, television viewing, video and computer games, computers, nonschool reading, library utilization, and other activities. Part IV concentrated on plans and expectations for the future. Part V addressed education after high school, including postsecondary planning steps and choice criteria. Part VI dealt with plans for work after high school. Part VII inquired about working for pay, including hours worked per week. Part VIII consisted of items on community, family, and friends. In the dropout questionnaire the respondents supplied their specific reasons for leaving school prior to graduation. Most of the modules in the dropout questionnaire matched those with the student questionnaire. Early graduates completed only a subset of the student questionnaire, complemented by items such as whom they consulted when deciding to graduate early, the basis for that decision and the means by which they did so. Sophomore cohort members who changed their base-year school received the transfer student questionnaire which asked them when they transferred and their reasons for doing so. Homeschooled students were asked about their schooling activities and status
such as grades, coursework completed in science and math, steps taken toward college, and the other above-mentioned items from the student questionnaire. Also in autumn of 2004, high school transcripts were requested for all sample members who participated in at least one of the first two student interviews. Thus, dropouts, freshened sample members, transfer students, homeschooled students and early graduated were all included if they responded either in 2002 or 2004. The respondents also took a cognitive test in mathematics. High school transcripts were collected for all students from their base-year school and, if they had changed schools, also their transfer schools. These transcripts provide school archival records on courses completed, grades, attendance, SAT/ACT scores, and so on from grades nine through twelve. The school administrator questionnaire was administered in 2004, but not the teacher questionnaire.
In the third round of data collection in 2006, information was collected about colleges applied to and aid offers received, enrollment in postsecondary education, employment and earnings, and living situation, including family formation. In addition, high school completion status was updated for those who had not completed as of the third round of data collection. Only the student questionnaire was administered that time. There were four modules: high school education, postsecondary education, employment, and community. Section A contained questions on receipt of high school/GED/certificate, date of receipt, reasons for finishing degree, and, for dropouts, reasons for leaving school. Section B consisted of items on college choice, including details on colleges applied to, offers of financial aid from each college, reasons for selecting a college, name of academic field aiming to pursue. It also addressed college experiences, including interaction with faculty, first and second majors’ field of study, undergraduate debt, expectation of highest level of degree, and enrollment status. Section C covered employment issues, including paid employment or self-employment, work done for family business or armed forces, occupational category, work hours per week, weekly earnings, job search methods, unemployment periods, details of employment during school or college, current finances, and future employment plans. Section D looked at political and community participation, marital status, biological children, and volunteer service. Cohort members will be interviewed again in 2012 so that later outcomes, such as their persistence and attainment in higher education, or their transition into the labor market, can be understood in terms of their earlier aspirations, achievement, and high school experiences.
High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09)
The High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) is a nationally representative, longitudinal study of more than 21,000 ninth graders in 944 schools who will be followed through their secondary and postsecondary years. The study focuses on understanding students’ trajectories from the beginning of high school into postsecondary education, the workforce, and beyond. What students decide
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
- Household composition
- Marital and fertility histories
- Child care
Questions in each of the above survey components have undergone several changes. Information about current labor force status, number of jobs held, time periods for each job held, unemployment phases, pay rates, fringe benefits, and wage setting by collective bargaining is provided by the labor market experiences section. In the 1994-2002 labor market experiences’ section, questions on job search methods, participation in employer-provided pension plan, receipt of severance pay, and type of position held (temporary, permanent, independent contractor) were included. In 2002, the employer supplement section was expanded to gather information on self-employed respondents and those with nontraditional employment. Training investments surveys have regularly collected detailed information about the types of nongovernment-sponsored vocational or technical training programs in which a respondent had enrolled since the last interview. Prior to 1986, surveys had extensive questions on participation in government-sponsored training programs. In the 1993 and 1994 surveys there were questions on informal methods to learn skills on the current job, potential transferability of skills acquired during various training programs, and whether skills learned in training programs added to skills learned in high school.
The schooling section contain information about respondents’ current school enrollment status, the highest grade attended or completed, earning of GED or high school diploma, college enrollment status, field of major and type of college degree. There was also a school survey of the last secondary school attended by respondents. It included both respondent-specific and school-specific information. Transcript data was collected during the 1980-1983 survey, which contained grades scored, credits earned, class rank, attendance records, and aptitude and achievement test scores.
Scores from Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test and Armed Forces Qualifications Test are also available. Military experience section provides information regarding respondent’s enlistment intentions, attitudes toward military, dates and branch of service, military occupation, pay grade, income, education/training received and reasons for leaving the military or reenlisting. The income and assets section requests information about the sources and amounts of income received in the past calendar year by the respondent and his or her spouse. Income from TANF, Food Stamps, other public assistance and social security income is also recorded.
Questions on health conditions, injuries, and insurance coverage provide data regarding the respondent’s height and weight, as well as the presence and duration of health conditions that prevent or limit labor market activity. Most surveys since 1989 have collected information on participation of respondents, their spouses and their children in private or government health care/hospitalization plan and
source of coverage. A new set of health questions was asked for the first time in the 1998 survey to create a baseline health data for respondents aged 40 and older. The questions cover general health status and the influence of health on daily activities and emotional well-being. Questions on alcohol conumption were asked in selected survey years and addressed its frequency, quantity, and impact on schoolwork or job performance. Similar information is gathered on smoking of cigarettes and substance use (marijuana, amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, and heroin). Female respondents were also asked to report if they consumed alcohol, cigarettes, or other substances during pregnancy. Data on criminal behavior is gathered from a 1980 supplement which had items on truancy, alcohol or marijuana use, vandalism, shoplifting, drug dealing and robbery, arrest records, and police contacts.
Survey questions dealing with attitudes and aspiratins changed as the respondents moved from adolescence to adult life. In the initial survey, respondents reported on the attitude of the most influential person in their lives on their occupational, residence, and childbearing decisions. In some years the survey included questions on attitudes toward women and work; future expectations about marriage, education, and employment; and occupational aspirations and work commitment. Geographic residence information is available for all respondents. 1992-2000 residence surveys included questions on neighborhood characteristics (safety, apathy, and joblessness) addressed to female respondents. A separate dataset entitled Women’s Support Network contains measures of the geographic proximity of residences of relatives, friends, and acquaintances to female respondents interviewed in 1983-1985 surveys. Family background, demographic characteristics, and household composition cover basic information on each respondent’s age, racial/ethnic identity, date of birth, country of birth, state of birth, religious affiliations, number of members in the household, and their relationship to the respondent, household members’ schooling, and work experience. The 1993 survey gathered information on age, education, and fertility of as many as 13 biological siblings. Marital and fertility histories covered topics such as marital status, cohabitation (since the 2002 surveys), menarche, menopause, abortions, and pregnancies (for female respondents), first sexual intercourse, usage of contraceptive methods, and interaction with children. Childcare items request information about the types of childcare used by female respondents, the associated childcare payments, and hours spent by children in childcare.
National Longitudinal Study of Youth 1997
The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97)14 consists of a nationally representative sample of 8,984 youths who were 12 to 16 years old as of December 31, 1996. The sample is designed to be a representative sample
of youth in the United States. Two subsamples within the NLSY97 are a cross-sectional sample of 6,748 respondents and a supplemental sample of 2,236 respondents designed to oversample Hispanics, Latinos, and African Americans. Most of the survey respondents in round one of the survey were in high school. Only in round one, parents were also surveyed. Round one asked questions that addressed the transitioning of students from school to college to work and their choices concerning marriage and children. Retention rate was around 90 percent until 2000. The twelfth round of the survey in 2008 had a retention rate of 83.3 percent.
NLSY97 has 11 data elements:
- Income, assets, and program participation
- Family formation
- Family background
- Attitudes, behaviors, and time use
- Environmental variables
- Event history variables
The employment section has three categories: employee jobs, freelance or self-employment jobs, and gaps between jobs. The data file includes a week-by-week longitudinal work record for each respondent from his or her fourteenth birthday. For the first two employment categories, respondents were asked about the start and end date of employment, number of hours worked, earnings. Respondents reporting employment gaps were asked about the reasons for and period of gap.
The schooling section contains questions on educational attainment, experiences, and coursework. The parent questionnaire was administered in round one to reveal more about the respondent’s past and current school experience. Round one also included administration of ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), a military enlistment test, and PIAT (Peabody Individual Achievement Test). ACT and SAT scores were also collected. In the first round, detailed information about Advanced Placement (AP) tests (grade, test date, subject of test, highest AP score received) taken by respondents were also collected. Rounds two to seven recorded only the subject of AP tests taken. NLSY97 also included 1996 and 2000 school surveys, which collected information from all high schools with a twelfth grade in the 147 NLSY97 primary sampling units. The schooling section has items on college and college choice. College choice questions ask about the range of colleges the respondent applied to. Data on the types of scholarships
and financial aid offered to the respondent by each institution is also requested. Institutional information is collected so that the IPEDS code can be assigned; it is available in restricted files. College questions ask youths their enrollment patterns, number and types of colleges attended (two-year or four-year), type of degree sought, credits received, major choice, college GPA, tuition, and fees. Sources and amounts of financial aid are also reported.
The training section requests information about participation in training programs-reasons for participation, type of certification, program’s length, contents, completion status, and source of funding. If the training is undertaken for a specific employer, respondents are asked about the occupation which he or she aims to pursue and the reason for enrolling in the program.
The section on income, assets, and program participation is similar to the income and assets section in NLSY79. The parent questionnaire included in round one gathered data from parents on the youth’s earnings and income in the previous year and the amount of support provided to financially independent youths. Under assets, respondents were asked about their bank accounts. Round seven included a section which asked respondents about their knowledge of welfare programs.
Questions on marriage, fertility, and child care were asked in the family formation section. In round one and rounds four to seven, questions on quality of relationships was included. In the fertility section, female respondents report about the details of failed pregnancies, while male respondents answered questions on fathering a child. The child care section had more detailed questions on persons providing transportation to childcare center, traveling time, etc. The family background section addresses demographic characteristics and household composition. Along with income questions, parents were asked about their history of participation in welfare programs.
In round one, the expectation section asked respondents about the probability of an event occurring in their life by next year, by age 20 and by age 30. These events were getting an academic degree, serving time in prison and working. In round four, similar questions were asked about probability of event occurrence within the next five years. The attitudes section collects information on youths’ opinions about their parents, about parent’s knowledge of the respondent’s activities, whom they turn to for advice, perception of the criminal justice system, peer behavior, attitudes toward teachers, and perception of school environment. The section on domains of influence was introduced in round seven. It collects information about the identity of the persons who offer the respondent advice on financial issues, employment, education, training, and personal relationships. Questions on religious preference and beliefs, and frequency of attendance at religious services are included in the youth and parent questionnaire.
The behavior sections are similar to the alcohol and substance use and behavior section in NLSY79. A series of questions on time use were asked from round one to three. General health statuses of respondents are collected in the health
sections. Rounds one to six asked about health-related behaviors and practices such as seatbelt use, nutrition, and exercise.
Environmental variables are created using information provided by respondents. Questions address whether respondent’s residence is in a rural or urban area and whether it is located in a metropolitan statistical area (MSA). Other questions address the local unemployment rate. Event history variables are specially created to summarize the timing of a variety of major life events for each respondent. The event history section is divided into four major sections: employment status, marital status, program participation, and schooling experiences. This group of variables denotes the requisite status of the respondent in the four major sections in each month following the fourteenth birthday of the respondent.
National Survey of College Graduates
The National Survey of College Graduates (NSCG)15 is a longitudinal survey designed to provide data on the number and characteristics of experienced individuals with education and/or employment in science and engineering (S&E), or S&E-related fields in the United States. The two NSCG baseline surveys were conducted in 1993 and 2003. The 1993 survey is a decade-long longitudinal and biannual survey. The 1993 NSCG was a special baseline survey that included all those who had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher prior to 4/1/90, regardless of field. The sample for this survey was drawn from 1990 Census Long Form respondents. The target population for this survey was thus more comprehensive than for the usual NSCG. The 1995 NSCG target population covered only the S&E population portion. The sample was selected from 1993 NSCG respondents and 1993 National Survey of Recent College Graduates (NSRCG) respondents. The 1995, 1997, and 1999 surveys had sampling frames similar to 1993, i.e., drawing from previous NSCG and NSRCG respondents. NSCG was not conducted in 2001. NSCG 1993 followed its respondents for six years.
The 2003 NSCG is a baseline survey which draws its sample from the 2000 Census Long Form respondents. 2003 survey respondents were noninstitutionalized individuals living in the U.S. during the reference week of October 1, 2003, holding a bachelor’s or higher degree in any field (received prior to April 1, 2000), and under age 76. Those holding a Ph.D. earned in the United States in an S&E field will not be followed in the future NSCG survey cycles as these individuals are covered in Survey of Doctorate Recipients.
The 2003 NSCG is supposed to generate decade-long survey cycles as the 1993 NSCG did. Items in the 2003 survey cycle include demographic variables—age, sex, race/ethnicity, citizenship status, country of birth, country of citizenship, immigrant module (year of entry, type of visa, etc.), disability status, marital status, number of children; educational variables—educational history (field,
level, date received for each degree held), school enrollment status; occupation/work related variables—employment status (unemployed, employed part time, or employed full-time), geographic place of employment, occupation (current or previous job), primary work activity (e.g., teaching, basic research, etc.), salary, satisfaction and importance of various aspects of job, sector of employment (e.g., academia, industry, government, etc.), academic employment (positions, rank, and tenure) and work-related training; publications and patent activities.
National Survey of Recent College Graduates
The National Survey of Recent College Graduates (NSRCG)16 provides information about individuals who recently obtained bachelor’s or master’s degrees in a science, engineering, or health (SEH) field two years prior to survey date. This group is of special interest to many decision makers, because it represents individuals who have recently made the transition from school to the workplace. The survey also provides information about individuals attending graduate school. Respondents are individuals who recently received bachelor’s or master’s degrees in an SEH field from a U.S. institution, were living in the United States during the survey reference week, and under age 76. The NSRCG sample is a two-stage sample. First a sample of institutions is selected. This sampling frame is derived from IPEDS. The selected institutions provide a list of graduates from which a sample of individuals is chosen. The first NSF-sponsored NSRCG (then known as New Entrants) was conducted in 1974. Subsequent surveys were conducted biannually. In the initial survey, data were collected only on bachelor’s degree recipients, but all ensuing surveys included both bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients. NSRCG surveys conducted in 1980s contained individuals who received bachelor’s degrees in engineering technology. As of 1993, they are no longer part of the sample. Individuals living outside the United States during the survey reference week were also not considered eligible for the survey.
The survey underwent extensive changes in the 1993 cycle. New topics included in the survey questionnaire were educational experience before and after receiving degree, graduate employment characteristics, relationship between education and employment, graduate background, and demographic characteristics. There were changes in the questions on major field and salary. The major field list was made more comparable with the Department of Education’s Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) and the occupation list was made more comparable with the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes. Thus, the 1993 data on the number and percent working in science and engineering occupations are not comparable with previous years’ results.
Items in the current survey cycle include demographic variables—age, sex, race/ethnicity, citizenship status, place of birth, country of birth, coun-
try of citizenship, disability status, marital status, number of children; educational variables—educational history (for each degree held: field, level, when received), employment status (unemployed, employed part-time, or employed full-time), educational attainment of parents, school enrollment status; financial variables—financial support and debt amount for undergraduate and graduate degree; occupation/work related variables—geographic place of employment, occupation (current or previous job), work activity (e.g., teaching, basic research, etc.), salary, overall satisfaction with principal job, sector of employment (e.g., academia, industry, government, etc.) and work-related training.
Differences Between National Survey of College Graduates and National Survey of Recent College Graduates
The NSCG is conducted by the Census Bureau for the NSF, while the NSRCG is conducted by the NSF itself. The population of interest is very similar in the NSCG and the NSRCG, but their sampling frame and data collection methods are different. The NSCG starts with a baseline survey based on the recent census data, while the NSRCG starts with a survey of institutions based on IPEDS data. In subsequent survey cycles, NSCG’s sample is updated by a selected sample of respondents from the NSRCG. Thus, data from the NSRCG feeds into the NSCG. For the NSRCG, data collection starts at the institutional level and then goes down to student level. A two-stage process identifies a sample of selected graduates from selected institutions. In content, the NSCG stresses employment in academic sector, publications and patents and does not delve into financial obligations of the respondents. The NSRCG collects information on debt burden and sources of financial support. NSCG has a separate item on immigration information which is not covered by NSRCG. Under educational variables, NSRCG has an item on educational attainment of parents.
Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering
The National Science Foundation-National Institutes of Health Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering (also known as GSS)17 is an annual survey of academic institutions in the United States. It collects data on the number and characteristics of graduate students, postdoctoral appointees, and doctorate-holding nonfaculty researchers in (S&E) and selected health fields. The NSF analyzes the survey data and produces results on graduate enrollment, postdoctoral appointments, and financial support.
The first survey was conducted in 1966. Since then, there have been substantial changes in terms of data collection efforts, sample sizes, and kinds of
institutions on whom data are collected. From 1966 through 1971, the NSF collected data from a limited number of doctorate-granting institutions through the NSF Graduate Traineeship Program. It requested data only on those S&E fields supported by NSF. Beginning with the 1972 survey, the NSF assigned this data collection effort to the Universities and Nonprofit Institutions Studies Group. From 1972 to 1975, the effort was gradually expanded to include additional S&E fields and all institutions known to have programs leading to a doctoral or master’s degree. Due to this expansion, data for 1974 and earlier years are not strictly comparable with 1975 and later data.
In 1984, the survey design was changed to a stratified random sample with a certainty stratum that included all doctorate-granting institutions; all master’s-granting, historically black colleges and universities; and all land-grant institutions. The remaining master’s-granting institutions were divided into two sample strata, based on enrollment size. Enrollment data for 1984-1987 have been adjusted to reflect universe totals.
In 1988, surveying the entire eligible survey population was resumed for the first time since 1983. Since 1988 the survey has attempted to cover all institutions with doctoral or master’s-granting programs in S&E or selected health fields and has excluded institutions without any such graduate programs. Also in 1988 the NSF reviewed and tightened the criteria for including departments in the GSS. The NSF considered those departments that were not primarily granting research degrees as not meeting the definition of S&E. This review process continued through the 1989-2006 survey cycles.
In 2007, a comprehensive review of the survey-eligible fields led to several changes. Many programs were eligible or were explicitly listed in the taxonomy for the first time, some were determined ineligible and other programs were reclassified from one field to another. The GSS-eligible programs were updated from the NCES 1990 Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) taxonomy to the NCES 2000 CIP taxonomy. Due to the changes introduced in 2007, data for 2007 and 2008 are not directly comparable with data from previous years. It is important to note that not all data items were collected from all institutions in all survey years.
The GSS survey is a multi-level census on graduate students, postdoctoral appointees, doctorate-holding nonfaculty researchers, and academic institutions. The data collection is done in two stages. First an updated list of units (departments, programs, research centers, and health facilities) is created (to reflect GSS eligibility) by the school coordinator. Then data is collected on graduate students, postdoctoral appointees, and doctorate-holding nonfaculty researchers for each eligible unit. Because the GSS is a multi-level survey, different sets of variables are collected for different categories of survey respondents. Information on graduate students is collected under the following items: sex, race/ethnicity, citizenship, primary source, and mechanism of support and enrollment status. For postdoctoral appointees information is collected on sex, citizenship, primary mechanism
of support and whether the individual holds a professional doctorate in a medical or related field. In the case of doctorate-holding nonfaculty researcher, variables collected are sex and whether the individual holds a professional doctorate in a medical or related field. At the institution level, information is available on highest degree granted, institution type, Carnegie classification, state of location and whether it is a historically black college or university.
Survey of Earned Doctorates
The Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED)18 began in 1957-1958 to collect data continuously on the number and characteristics of individuals receiving research doctoral degrees from all accredited U.S. institutions. The results of this annual survey are used to assess characteristics and trends in doctorate education and degrees. This information is vital for educational and labor force planners within the federal government and in academia. The SED is sponsored by the following six federal agencies: National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Endowment for the Humanities, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Science Resources Statistics Division (SRS) of the NSF monitors the contract to conduct the SED.
All individuals receiving research doctorates from accredited U.S. institutions are asked to complete the survey. Each U.S. graduate school is responsible for providing the survey to their graduates and then submitting completed forms to the survey contractor. The SED is a census of all individuals receiving a research doctorate from a U.S. institution in the academic year (July 1 through June 30 of the next year). M.D., D.D.S., J.D., D.Pharm., and Psy.D degree holders are not included in the survey. The SED collects a complete college education history and therefore coding of institutions is very important. IPEDS provides the coding frame for the U.S. institutions where doctorate recipients earned their baccalaureate and/or master’s degrees. As one-third of doctorate recipients from U.S. universities are citizens of foreign countries, a coding manual for foreign institutions of higher education was developed by the U.S. Department of Education, entitled “Mapping the World of Education: The Comparative Database System.” This coding frame is used to code the baccalaureate and/or master’s degree origins of U.S. doctorate recipients who earned earlier degrees in foreign countries.
From 1957 to 1997, SED data collection was done by the National Research Council (NRC) for the NSF. The National Opinion Research Center has been conducting the survey since then. Starting from 1998, there were changes in the response categories of marital status (new categories introduced) and source of funding (new coding frame by reducing categories). Items collected in the survey include demographic variables—age, sex, race/ethnicity, birth year, county
of birth, country of citizenship at graduation, disability status, marital status, number/age of dependents; educational variables—educational history in college, field of degree, baccalaureate-origin institution (U.S. or foreign), academic institution of doctorate, type of academic institution (e.g., historically black institutions, Carnegie codes, control) awarding the doctorate, educational attainment of parents; postgraduation plans—work/postdoc/training, primary and secondary work activities, type and location of employer; financial variables—graduate and undergraduate educational debt, sources of financial support during graduate school.
Survey of Doctorate Recipients
The Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR)19 gathers information from individuals who have obtained a doctoral degree in an SEH field. The SDR is a biannual and longitudinal survey that follows recipients of research doctorates from U.S. institutions until age 76. This group is of special interest to many decision makers, because it represents some of the most highly educated individuals in the U.S. workforce. The SDR results are used by employers in the education, industry, and government sectors to understand and to predict trends in employment opportunities and salaries in SEH fields for graduates with doctoral degrees. The results are also used to evaluate the effectiveness of equal opportunity efforts. The NSF also finds the results important for internal planning, as most NSF grants go to individuals with doctoral degrees. Respondents were individuals with a research doctorate in a SEH field from a U.S. institution, were living in the United States during the survey reference week, noninstitutionalized and under age 76.
Before 1997 data collection for SDR was done by the NRC for the NSF. There were major changes in the 1993 cycle in survey instrument design and content. The format and layout of the questionnaires were changed to make them more accessible for respondents. This included using a larger font size for improved readability, using graphical aids to indicate skip patterns, and using reverse printing to indicate answer spaces. The survey instrument was expanded from eight pages to twenty pages. New questions were added to gather information on such topics as degrees earned since receipt of the first doctorate, relationship of degree to current job, and reasons for making job changes. Sections on employment and demographic characteristics were also modified to facilitate analysis of the relationship between educational attainment and occupational outcomes. Thus, pre-1993 SDR data and post-1993 SDR data are not strictly comparable.
Items in the 2006 survey cycle include demographic variables—age, sex, race/ethnicity, citizenship status, place of birth, country of birth, country of citizenship, disability status, marital status, number of children; educational
variables—educational history (for each degree held: field, level, institution, when received), educational attainment of parents, school enrollment status; financial variables—financial support and debt amount for undergraduate and graduate degree; postdoctorate status (current and/or three most recent postdoctoral appointments); occupation/work related variables—employment status (part-time, full-time, unemployed), geographic place of employment, occupation (current or previous job), work activity (e.g., teaching, basic research, etc.), salary, overall satisfaction and importance of various aspects of job, sector of employment (e.g., academia, industry, government, etc.), and work-related training.
The data from the SDR are combined with that from two other NSF surveys of scientists and engineers, the NSCG and the NSRCG. The three surveys are closely coordinated and share the same reference date and nearly identical instruments. The database developed from the three surveys, the Scientists and Engineers Statistical Data System (SESTAT), provides a comprehensive picture of the number and characteristics of individuals with training and/or employment in science, engineering, or related fields in the United States.
Differences Between Survey of Earned Doctorates and Survey of Doctorate Recipients
The SED is a census of all individuals who received a research doctoral degree irrespective of the field of degree. The graduate schools collect questionnaires from degree recipients at the time of completion of degree. Data from SED does not require sampling, weighting, or adjustments for nonresponse. Survey of Doctorate Recipients (SDR) is a longitudinal survey of individuals who have received a research doctoral degree in a science, engineering, or health field (SEH). SED respondents are not followed. In each biannual cycle of SDR, its sample frame is augmented by new cohorts of science and engineering doctorate recipients identified by the SED. Thus, SDR draws its sampling frame from SED. The two surveys also differ in key variables collected. The SED concentrates on the type and field of degree received, debt burden, and postgraduation plans, while SDR concentrates more on work experiences after attaining degree. The SED also asks about previously received foreign degrees and educational attainment of parents.
Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS)
The Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS)20 Grant Program, as authorized by the Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002, Title II of the statute that created the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), is designed to aid state education agencies in developing and implementing longitudinal data sys-
tems. These systems are intended to enhance the ability of states to efficiently and accurately manage, analyze, and use education data, including individual student records. The data systems developed with funds from these grants should help states, districts, schools, and teachers make data-driven decisions to improve student learning, as well as facilitate research to increase student achievement and close achievement gaps. These competitive, cooperative agreement grants extend for three to five years and provide up to $20 million per grantee. Grantees are obligated to submit annual reports and a final report on the development and implementation of their systems. All fifty states, five territories, and the District of Columbia are eligible to apply. In November 2005, the first year of the grant program, IES awarded SLDS grants to fourteen states. SLDS grants were awarded to twelve additional states and the District of Columbia in June 2007 (FY 2007 Grantees), twenty-seven states—including fifteen new states—in March 2009 (FY 2009 Grantees), and twenty states in May 2010 (FY 2009 ARRA Grantees). NCES administers the grants and also provides technical assistance to grant recipients. Grant amount ranges from $1.5 million to $39.7 million and will be disbursed over a period of three to five years. The SLDS grant program is jointly sponsored by federal government and state governments. Lessons learned and nonproprietary products or solutions developed by recipients of these grants will be disseminated to aid other state and local education agencies in the design, development, implementation, and use of longitudinal data systems.
State Student Unit Record (SUR) Databases
Forty-five states have Student Unit Record Databases (SUR)21 in place. Some states, such as California and Texas, have had such a system in place for a long time; others have developed these databases only recently. The SUR system is established by a state’s legislature or Board of Regents for purposes that range from student tracking to resource allocation. Two-year and four-year public institutions are included in the SUR system. In some cases, as in Florida, the SUR system may also include K-12 institutions. The databases contain records of students enrolled in public institutions in a state. Data elements covered in SUR can be categorized into:
- Demographics—sex, race/ethnicity, date of birth, citizenship, geographic origin, and disability status.
- Academic background—admission test scores, high school attended, high school class size, high school rank, high school GPA, high school graduation date, prior college attended, transfer credit, remedial status, placement test scores.
- Enrollment status—degree seeking status, first term of academic, history, full-time/part-time, program/major, financial aid details, join enrollment status, distance education status.
- Academic activity—term data collected, term GPA, term credits attempted, term credits earned.
- Academic attainment—cumulative GPA, cumulative credits earned, degree awarded.
Most of these data elements are collected by forty-nine states. Other data elements, such as disability status, high school class size, high school rank, remedial status, placement test scores, and joint enrollment status, are collected by fewer than twenty state systems.
National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
The purpose of conducting the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)22 is to understand the quality of education being offered by institutions. The survey focuses on college experiences—gains made in learning, program expectations, and future plans. The NSSE was conceived in early 1998 and supported by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts. The NSSE conducted a successful pilot in 1999 that involved more than 75 selected four-year colleges and universities. Approximately 275 colleges and universities participated in the inaugural survey in the spring of 2000. In 2010 the number of participating institutions rose to 603. In 2009, 363,859 students participated in the survey. The sample consists of institutions from the United States and Canada. An institution which registers for the survey is required to post a message to its students that it is participating in the NSSE. The institution has discretion to select methods to encourage student participation. Each student in the institution is sent an e-mail message with the survey questionnaire embedded or is mailed the paper questionnaire depending on the mode chosen by the institution. Survey components include college activities—class work and preparation, faculty interaction, peer interaction, mental activities emphasized by coursework, time use, activities planned before graduation; educational and personal growth—contribution of college education to knowledge, skills and personal development; opinions about the school—activities emphasized by school, relationships among faculty, staff and students; and background information-age, gender, ethnicity, nationality, educational status of parents, level, grade received till now, types of schools attended since high school, current term enrollment status, sorority or fraternity membership, residency status, living alone or with others (parents, relative, roommates), and field of major.
Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE)
In Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE),23 the population of interest is students entering college. The survey is administered to first-year college or university students by Indiana University’s Center for Survey Research and Center for Postsecondary Research. The BCSSE began in 2007 and had its fourth round in 2010. 72,954 entering first-year students across 129 institutions participated in the 2009 survey.
Administration of BCSSE is similar to NSSE. Survey components are high school experiences—year of graduation, high school grade, performance in math classes, years in a particular subject classes, completion of AP or honors or college credit courses, amount of reading and writing in the last year of high school, time use, class participation, faculty interaction, peer interaction, SAT/ACT scores, and participation in various activities; college experiences—expectation of time use, grades in coming year, highest degree attainment, expectations about involvement in class and course-related work, interacting with faculty and peers, expectation of difficulty level of course material, time management, paying college expenses, expectations from college or university, financial aid information; and additional information—gender, ethnicity, nationality, enrollment status, close friends attending the same college, parental education, and distance of college from home.
Faculty Survey of Student Engagement
Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE)24 is a complement to the NSSE. Its purpose is to measure faculty expectations of student engagement and it can be linked to results from the NSSE. The survey started in 2003. Thus far, 140,000 faculty members from 590 institutions have participated. Institutions that are participating in NSSE or have done so the previous year are eligible to administer the faculty survey. With results from both surveys, it is possible to compare student and faculty answers to the same questions. The mode of the survey is Web-based only. Each institution selects its sample from faculty who teach at least one undergraduate course in the current academic year. Institutions provide the names and e-mail addresses of faculty to be surveyed. All other aspects of the survey administration are handled by FSSE (i.e., e-mails to faculty, follow-up, data collection, and analysis). Faculty responses to the survey remain anonymous to their institution. Survey components include items on faculty perceptions of how often students engage in different activities, the importance faculty place on various areas of learning and development, the nature and frequency of faculty-
student interactions and how faculty members organize their time, both in and out of the classroom.
Community College Survey of Student Engagement
To address the specific needs of students enrolled in community colleges, Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE)25 was initiated in 2001. The survey aims to fill the gap left by NSSE which draws its sample from four-year institutions only. CCSSE can be considered a partner survey of NSSE and is administered by the Community College Leadership Program at The University of Texas at Austin. The survey is administered to students in randomly selected classes (credit courses only) at each participating college. The required number of course sections to be surveyed is determined by the total sample size. Therefore, sample sizes range from approximately 600 to approximately 1,200 students, depending on institutional size. For colleges with less than 1,500 students, the targeted sample size will be about 20 percent of total credit enrollment. A unique feature available to participating institutions is that they can chose to oversample to provide sufficient data for analysis in an area of interest, such as how successful an institution is in educating students from an ethnic community. Community colleges have multiple campuses and classes are offered in various sites. Oversampling can help also them to understand the relative efficacy of different campuses.
Questionnaire items in CCSSE are similar to NSSE items except for a few questions tailored for community college students. Survey components are college activities, educational and personal growth and background information. Extra items included topics such as support from friends and immediate family, social life in college, Internet availability and use, reasons for attending community college, reasons which would force one to withdraw from college, financial sources, number and type of classes enrolled, credits earned, details about joint enrollment status, child care situation, and English as native or first language.
Starting in 2006, a few supplemental questions were added. Their focus has changed from year to year:
- 2006: item on academic advising—identity of advisor, whether advisor provided up-to-date information, quality of working relationship with advisor and whether advising helped the student in setting academic goals and achieving them.
- 2007: item on entering student experience—meeting with an academic advisor, completion of assessment test, teaching methods, satisfaction with quality of new student orientation.
- 2008: item on student financial aid—submission of a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), reasons for not submitting details about other sources of financial aid.
- 2009: item on technology—usage of social networking sites or course management systems by students for communication with other students, instructors or college staff about coursework and usage of social networking sites by the college to communicate with student about various services.
- 2010: item on deep learning—usage of interdisciplinary ideas and diverse perspectives to finish assignments or participate in class discussions, evaluate own views, empathize with another’s viewpoint.
- 2011: item on practices for student success—freshman orientation experience, participation in student development courses, clarity of instruction activity, usage of college-provided material and participation in brief or multi-day refresher workshop to prepare for placement test, completion of college placement test, kind of courses taken due to results of placement tests, help from academic advisor and participation in group learning or tutoring or supplemental instruction/learning.
Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement
Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (CCFSSE)26 is a complement to CCSSE. Its purpose is to measure faculty expectations of student engagement and can be linked to the results from CCSSE. The survey started in 2005. At that time, thirty-nine community colleges participated. For CCFSSE 2011, 180 colleges have registered. Institutions which are participating in CCSSE or have done so the previous year are eligible to administer the faculty survey. The mode of the survey is Web-based only. Administration of CCFSSE is equivalent to that of FSSE. Survey components are very similar to FSSE, with few extra items to take into account special features of community college students. Participating faculty members are asked questions on frequency of referral and usage and importance of services provided by community colleges. Services included in the questionnaire are academic advising/planning, career counseling, job placement assistance, peer or other tutoring, skill labs (writing, math, etc.), child care, financial aid advising, computer lab, student organizations, transfer credit assistance, and service to students with disabilities. Faculty were specifically asked about their work status (part-time or full-time), total number of credit hours scheduled to teach in the current academic term, components of teaching assignment, academic rank, tenure status, teaching experience, and educational qualification.
Law School Survey of Student Engagement
Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE)27 is a survey oriented toward law school students. The purpose of the survey is to gather information on law school experience, including how students spend their time, what they feel they’ve gained from their classes, their assessment of the quality of interactions with faculty and friends, and their view of important activities. LSSSE is housed in Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research and is co-sponsored by the Association of American Law Schools and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The survey is administered similarly to NSSE but is Web-based only. More than 160 law schools have participated since 2004. Around 25,000 law students participated in the 2010 survey. Survey components are very similar to NSSE except for few extra items tailored to law students. Extra items covered topics such as choice of law school, sexual orientation, enrollment in joint degree programs, time gap in years between undergraduate education and law school, expected amount of educational debt upon graduation, area of legal specialization, preferable and expected work environment.
National Study of Student Learning
The National Study of Student Learning (NSSL) was a longitudinal research project that ran from 1992 to 1995. It examined the influence of academic and nonacademic experiences on student learning, student attitudes about learning, student cognitive development, and student persistence. Eighteen four-year and five two-year postsecondary institutions participated in the study, with data collected from a total of 3,840 students. The eight areas of inquiry focused on the effects of: (1) attending a two-year college in comparison to a four-year college on cognitive development; (2) attending a historically black college compared to a predominantly white college on cognitive development; (3) teacher behavior on cognitive development; (4) first-generation college attendance on cognitive development and attitudes; (5) intercollegiate athletic participation on cognitive development; (6) institutional environment and students’ academic and nonacademic experiences on students’ openness to cultural and racial diversity; (7) affiliation with a fraternity or sorority on cognitive development during the first year of college; and (8) in-class and out-of-class experiences on first-year students’ critical thinking ability. Analysis of the data found little difference in the cognitive gains made by students attending two-year versus four-year institutions, or historically black versus predominantly white institutions.
International Enrollment Survey and Study Abroad Survey
International Enrollment Survey and Study Abroad Survey28 are two surveys conducted by Institute of International Education starting in 2000. They collect data on the number of international students attending various U.S. postsecondary institutions and the number of U.S. citizens studying abroad in foreign countries. The surveys was are carried out by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in cooperation with American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), American Council on Education (ACE), Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), and NAFSA: Association of International Educators. A total of 688 institutions participated in the 2009-2010 survey.
The international enrollment survey provide information on newly enrolled international students such as the countries of origin, kind of academic programs enrolled in, the most welcoming state, city and institution. At the institutional level, information is collected on total enrollment of such students in various programs. Similar variables are collected for students who are studying abroad—host country, academic program, and duration of program. The data are obtained each year through surveys sent to approximately 3,000 accredited U.S. higher education institutions, who report on the international students enrolled at their campuses. The IIE was founded in 1919 with a mission to collect information on enrollment of international students in the United States. The data has been published as part of IIE’s Open Doors project since 1954. The Open Doors project is supported by the U.S. Information Agency.
IIE has been conducting the surveys on study abroad flows since 1985/86. The Open Doors Study Abroad survey counts only those students who received academic credit from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education after they returned from their study abroad experience. Students who travel and take courses abroad without receiving academic credit are not reported in Open Doors, nor are students who are enrolled overseas for degrees from non-U.S. institutions.
National Student Clearinghouse
The National Student Clearinghouse (NSC)29 is a central repository of student enrollment and graduation information. Its purpose is to provide the required enrollment information to the servicers and guarantors of the Federal Student Loan Programs. The Clearinghouse was designed primarily to service the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) loans, which include Stafford, Supple-
28See http://www.iie.org/en/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors [December 2010].
mental Loans for Students (SLS), PLUS and Consolidation loans, both through traditional lenders and through the Federal Direct Lending Program.
More than 3,300 institutions and hundreds of school districts participate in the Clearinghouse, representing 92 percent of total U.S. college enrollment. It was originally created to provide lending organizations with enrollment verifications and deferments of financial aid students. Over time, it expanded to verify degrees of graduates to employers, background search firms, and recruiters. Other data users include federal government agencies, student health insurance providers, student credit issuers and student loan providers. The Clearinghouse also allows students who transfer from one participating school to another to continue their in-school deferment status without inherent delays. Participating institutions can send files of students of interest to the database and receive appended information containing number of schools and colleges attended, dates of enrollment and degree (if any) earned. The student tracker tool follows students across colleges/universities and across states. The Clearinghouse helps an institution to know about the educational background of currently enrolled students, educational pathways of drop-outs and prospective students who did not enroll, and also postbaccalaureate pathways of graduates. Even though it is a comprehensive database following most students over time, the number of variables collected is very limited. There is no information on college experiences, jobs or internships during college education, expectations, and plans for future, etc.
Unemployment Insurance Wage Record Data30
State Employment Security Agencies (SESA) collect employment and earning reports from employers on a quarterly basis. The data is collected by these state agencies to aid the process of administering the nationwide system of unemployment compensation. SESA uses the information to determine the tax liability of employers for unemployment compensation and verification purposes. Even though wage record data is collected by state agencies, there is commonality across states. The common factors are social security numbers of all employees in the state who are covered by unemployment insurance, their quarterly earnings, the standard industrial code, business name and address of employer. The employment and earnings data cover around 90 percent of the working population.
30U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Wage Record Information Systems, OTA-BP-HER-127 (Washington, DC, May 1994).