Skip Navigation
small NCES header image

Appendix B: Definitions of Demographic Variables

The demographic variables used in the High School Transcript Study (HSTS) are defined below. The demographic variables used in the 1982 High School and Beyond (HS&B) study vary somewhat from those used in the NAEP HSTS; those differences are noted. In addition, NAEP also defines some of its reporting categories differently from HSTS. For example, region of the country in the HSTS is based on Census regions. See the complete description below.

Gender. Three categories are defined for the NAEP 2000 HSTS student gender variable:

  • Male;
  • Female; and
  • Not Reported.

Only a small number of students in the 2000 HSTS student sample did not report a gender.

Race/Ethnicity. Seven categories are defined for the 2000 HSTS study race/ethnicity variable:

  • White;
  • Black;
  • Hispanic;
  • Asian/Pacific Islander;
  • Native American;
  • Other; and
  • Not Reported.

In the 2000 HSTS, 128 students reported a race or ethnicity other than the first five race/ethnicity categories listed above. Fewer students selected the “Other” race/ethnicity category in the HSTS for 1987, 1990, 1994, and 1998.

The 1982 HS&B student sample contained no unknown student gender and race/ethnicity responses. That assessment was able to reduce the number of such cases because, as a longitudinal study, it was provided more opportunities to obtain demographic information than a cross-sectional study, such as NAEP. Data files from the HS&B 1982 study also contained imputed values for any remaining unknown student gender and race/ethnicity responses.

Student Program. Four categories are defined for the 2000 HSTS study student program variable:

  • Academic: The student has earned at least 12 credits in the core academic course areas of English, social studies, mathematics, and/or science but has less than 3 credits in any specific labor market preparation field.

  • Vocational: The student has earned at least 3 credits in a single specific labor market preparation field but has less than 12 credits in the core academic course areas. The specific labor market preparation (SLMP) areas in the vocational education curriculum are agriculture and renewable resources, business, marketing and distribution, health care, public and protective services, trade and industry, technology and communications, personal and other services, food service and hospitality, and child care and education.

  • Both: The student has earned at least 12 credits in the core academic course areas and at least 3 credits in a single specific labor market preparation field.

  • Neither: The student has not met the course credit requirements above for either the academic or the vocational student program.

Community Type. For the 1998 and 2000 HSTS studies, three categories are defined for the community type variable:

  • Urban: A central city of a Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) or Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

  • Suburban: Any incorporated place, Census Designated Place, or non-place territory within a CMSA or MSA of a Mid-City or Large City, and defined as urban by the Census Bureau. Also any incorporated place or Census Designated Place with a population greater than or equal to 25,000 and located outside a CMSA or MSA.

  • Rural: An incorporated place or Census Designated Place with a population less than 25,000 and greater than 2,500 and located outside a CMSA or MSA. Also any incorporated place, Census Designated Place, or non-place territory designated as rural by the Census Bureau.

For the 1987, 1990, and 1994 HSTS studies, four categories are defined for the community type variable:

  • Big City: Within the city limits of a city with population greater than or equal to 200,000, or within the city limits of one of two or more central cities of an urbanized area with combined population greater than or equal to 200,000.

  • Urban Fringe: Outside the city limits but within the urbanized area of a Big City.

  • Medium City: Within the city limits of a place with a total population greater than or equal to 25,000 but less than 200,000; the place must not be in the urbanized area of a Big City.

  • Small Place: Open country or a place with a total population less than 25,000; the place must not be in an urbanized area of a Big City.

For the 1982 HS&B study, three categories are defined for the community type variable: urban, suburban, and rural. Although having similar names, the definitions do not match the community type definitions used in the 1998 and 2000 HSTS, and, therefore, they cannot be compared. The 1982 HS&B community type results are provided in the tabulations for completeness. For more information about the 1982 HS&B community type variable, refer to High School and Beyond Transcript Survey (1982): Data file user's manual (NCES, 1983).

School Type. Two categories of school type are defined for the 2000 HSTS study:

  • Public schools, which include Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools and Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools; and

  • Nonpublic schools, which include Catholic, other religious, and privately run schools.

Region of the Country. The 2000 HSTS tabulations use Census-defined regions to define the regions of the country. Each contains about one-fourth of the U.S. population, ensuring that each region was adequately represented in the sample. The four regions of the country, and the states included in each region, are:

  • Northeast: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont;

  • South: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia;

  • Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin; and

  • West: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Carnegie Credits. In all HSTS studies, the number of credits a student received for each course was recorded. Participating schools varied widely in their assignments of credits to their courses. Therefore, course credits were standardized across schools for each transcript study such that one credit equals one Carnegie unit. One Carnegie unit equals a class period (45 or 60 minutes) that occurs once per day across the entire school year. Standardization to Carnegie units allowed for an accurate comparison not only of course credits across schools within the transcript study, but also between transcript studies over time. For the 1982 graduates, the course credits provided on the 1982 HS&B data file were used as recorded.

In some schools, certain courses are classified as non-credit; that is, students may complete the course with a passing grade but no course credits are earned. For these courses, the data file contains zero credits and the course is not included in the tabulations. This situation occurs most frequently in courses such as physical education, religion, and other courses not considered part of the core curriculum.

Grade Point Average. The grade point average (GPA) represents the average number of grade points a student earns for each graded high school course. Grade points are points per course credit assigned to a passing grade, indicating the numerical value of the grade. Dividing a student's total grade points earned by the total course credits attempted determines a student's GPA. Courses in which a student does not receive a grade, such as pass/fail and audited courses, do not factor into the GPA calculation.

Since the HS&B GPAs could not be converted into the four-point scale used for the HSTS, the tabulations do not contain any grade point information for 1982 high school graduates.


Last updated 03 July 2007 (MH)

Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey

or

No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.
National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education