Appendix A. Technical Note and Guide to Sources

U.S. Department of Education

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

Common Core of Data, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey

The Common Core of Data (CCD) is a universe survey database with comprehensive, annually updated information. The State Nonfiscal Survey Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey provides basic information on public elementary and secondary school students and staff for each state, the District of Columbia, and the outlying territories with a U.S. relationship. Data are collected for a particular school year via an online reporting system open to state education agencies during the school year. Since the CCD is a universe collection, CCD data are not subject to sampling errors.

Table 9 reports CCD data.

For more information on the CCD, see

Education Longitudinal Study of 2002

The Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002) is a longitudinal survey that is monitoring the transitions of a national probability sample of 10th-graders in public, Catholic, and other private schools. Survey waves follow both students and high school dropouts and monitor their transition into postsecondary education, the labor force, and family formation.
The first follow-up was conducted in 2004, when most sample members were high school seniors. Base-year students who remained in their base schools were resurveyed and tested in mathematics, along with a freshening sample to make the study representative of spring 2004 high school seniors nationwide. Students who were no longer at their base schools were administered a questionnaire.
The second follow-up, completed in 2006, continued to follow the sample of students into postsecondary education or work, or both. The next follow-up is scheduled for 2012.
Tables 52 and 53 use ELS:2002 and ELS:2004 data; tables 54 and 55 use ELS:2006 data.
For more information on ELS:2002, see

High School and Beyond Longitudinal Study

The High School and Beyond Longitudinal Study (HS&B) is a national longitudinal survey of individuals who were high school sophomores and seniors in 1980. Students completed questionnaires and took a battery of cognitive tests. In addition, a sample of parents of sophomores and seniors was surveyed. Students who were high school sophomores and seniors in 1980 were surveyed every two years through 1986, and the 1980 sophomore class was also surveyed again in 1992.
Tables 10, 52, and 53 report data from HS&B.                                                     

For more information on HS&B, see .

High School Transcript Studies

High school transcript studies (HSTS) have been conducted since 1982; each study is associated with a major NCES data collection. The studies collect information that is contained in a student’s high school record—courses taken while attending secondary school, information on credits earned, when specific courses were taken, and final grades.

For the studies conducted of high school graduates in 1998, 2000, 2005, and 2009, NCES collected high school transcripts from a nationally representative sample of both public and private schools that had been selected to participate in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Within each school, a representative sample of graduating seniors was selected. Most of the transcripts collected were those of students who participated in the NAEP assessment in that year. After collection, the courses appearing in the student transcripts were coded using the Classification of Secondary School Courses, which contains over 2,200 course codes.

 Table 10 uses HSTS data.     

For more information on the HSTS, see

 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and the postsecondary survey that preceded it, the Higher Education General Information Survey (HEGIS), are systems of universe surveys that collect data from all Title IV postsecondary educational institutions in the United States. The surveys collect institution-level data in such areas as enrollments, program completions, faculty, staff, and finances. HEGIS was conducted in 1980, 1984, and 1985, while IPEDS has been conducted annually from 1986 on. This report uses the IPEDS Fall Enrollment survey, Spring survey, and Residence of First-Time Students survey.

Tables 17a, 18, and 22 use data from IPEDS.

For more information on IPEDS and HEGIS, see

National Assessment of Educational Progress 

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas. For over three decades, assessments have been conducted periodically in reading, mathematics, science, writing, history, geography, and other subjects.

NAEP long-term trend assessments are designed to inform the nation of changes in the basic achievement of America’s youth. Nationally representative samples of students have been assessed in science, mathematics, and reading at ages 9, 13, and 17 since the early 1970s. Students were assessed in writing at grades 4, 8, and 11 between 1984 and 1996. To measure trends accurately, assessment items (mostly multiple choice) and procedures have remained unchanged since the first assessment in each subject. Recent long-term trend assessments were conducted in 1994, 1996, 1999, and 2004. The most recent long-term trend assessment (of reading and mathematics) was administered in early 2008.

The 2004 NAEP long-term trend assessments marked the end of tests designed and administered from 1971, and marked the beginning of a modified design that provides greater accommodations for students with disabilities and English language learners, and limited the assessments to reading and math. Science and writing are now assessed only in main NAEP.
Tables 12a and 12b provide data fromNAEP.

For more information on NAEP, see

National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988

The National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88), a secondary school student longitudinal study conducted by NCES, began with a cohort of 8th-grade students. Follow-ups were conducted in 1990 and 1992, when a majority of these students were in the 10th and 12th grades, respectively, and then 2 years after their scheduled high school graduation, in 1994. A fourth follow-up was conducted in 2000.

NELS:88 was designed to provide trend data about critical transitions experienced by young people as they develop, attend school, and embark on their careers. It complements and strengthens state and local efforts by furnishing new information on how school policies, teacher practices, and family involvement affect student educational outcomes (i.e., academic achievement, persistence in school, and participation in postsecondary education). For the base year, NELS:88 included a multifaceted student questionnaire, four cognitive tests, a parent questionnaire, a teacher questionnaire, and a school questionnaire.

Tables 52 and 53 use data from NELS:88.

For more information on NELS:88, see

National Household Education Surveys Program

The National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES) was developed by NCES to complement its school-based surveys. This program is the principal mechanism for addressing topics that cannot be addressed in institutional data collections. By collecting data directly from households, NHES enables NCES to gather data on a wide range of issues, such as early childhood care and education, children’s readiness for school, parents’ perceptions of school safety and discipline, before- and after-school activities of school-age children, participation in adult and continuing education, parent parents’ involvement in education, and civic involvement. The NHES Parent and Family Involvement in Education survey was conducted in 1996, 1999, 2003, and 2007.

Tables 14 and 35 report NHES data.

For more information on NHES, see  

National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972

The National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 (NLS:72) began with the collection of base-year survey data from a sample of about 19,000 high school seniors in the spring of 1972. Five follow-up surveys of these students were conducted in 1973, 1974, 1976, 1979, and 1986. NLS:72 was designed to provide the education community with information on the transitions of young adults from high school through postsecondary education and the workplace.
Tables 52 and 53 report NLS:72 data.
For more information on NLS:72, see

National Postsecondary Student Aid Study

The National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) is a comprehensive nationwide study designed to determine how students and their families pay for postsecondary education and to describe some of the demographic and other characteristics of those enrolled. The study is based on a nationally representative sample of students in postsecondary education institutions, including undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional students. Students attending all control and levels of institutions are represented, including public and private not-for-profit and for-profit institutions, less-than-2-year institutions, community colleges, and 4-year colleges and universities. NPSAS surveys provide information on the cost of postsecondary education, the distribution of financial aid, and the characteristics of both aided and nonaided students and their families.

Tables 19, 20, and 21 present NPSAS data.

For more information on NPSAS, see

Private School Universe Survey

The purposes of the Private School Universe Survey (PSS) data collection activities are (1) to build an accurate and complete list of private schools to serve as a sampling frame for NCES sample surveys of private schools; and (2) to report data on the total number of private schools, teachers, and students in the survey universe. Begun in 1989, the PSS has been conducted every 2 years. The PSS produces data similar to that of the CCD for public schools, and can be used for public-private comparisons. The data are useful for a variety of policy and research-relevant issues, such as the growth of religiously affiliated schools, the number of private high school graduates, the length of the school year for various private schools, and the number of private school students and teachers.
The target population for this universe survey is all private schools in the United States that meet the PSS criteria of a private school (i.e., the private school is an institution that provides instruction for any of grades K through 12, has one or more teachers to give instruction, is not administered by a public agency, and is not operated in a private home). The survey universe is composed of schools identified from a variety of sources. The main source is a list frame initially developed for the 1989–90 PSS. The list is updated regularly by matching it with lists provided by nationwide private school associations, state departments of education, and other national guides and sources that list private schools. The other source is an area frame search in approximately 124 geographic areas, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Table 9 features PSS data.

For more information on the PSS, see