Data and Terminology
The data presented here come from three nationally representative longitudinal studies conducted by NCES:
In the tables and figures that follow, "parents’ highest education" refers to the highest level of education attained by either parent. "High school diploma or less" means that neither parent had any postsecondary education. "Some college, including vocational/technical" means that at least one parent attended college or a vocational/technical program, but neither earned a bachelor’s or advanced degree. "Bachelor’s degree or higher" means that at least one parent earned a bachelor’s or advanced degree. An advanced degree is a master’s, doctoral, or first-professional degree.3
A number of complex measures of college qualification, mathematics proficiency and coursetaking, and high school curriculum were used in the NCES studies. The technical note at the end of the analysis provides complete descriptions of these variables.
1The data from the most recent survey are just becoming available for analysis. (back to text)
2The BPS samples are composed of students who participated in the 1989-90 and 1995-96 National Postsecondary Student Aid Studies (NPSAS) and who were identified as enrolling in postsecondary education for the first time in those years. (back to text)
3First-professional degrees include the following: medicine (MD), chiropractic (DC or DCM), dentistry (DDS or DMD), optometry (OD), osteopathic medicine (DO), pharmacy (DPharm), podiatry (PodD or DPM), veterinary medicine (DVM), law (LLB or JD), and theology (MDiv, MHL, or BD). (back to text)