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 the world of work.
ELS:2002 has two distinctive features:
As a longitudinal study, ELS: 2002 follows a nationally representative cohort of students from the time they were high school sophomores through the rest of their high school careers. In 2004, the sample was augmented to make it representative of seniors as well. ELS:2002 continues to follow these students into postsecondary education and/or the labor market. These transitions are complex in that youth may follow many different pathways and prolonged in that the students will be followed until they are in their mid-to-late twenties. By surveying the same young people over time, it is possible to record the changes taking place in their lives and help to explain these changes—that is, understand the ways in which earlier achievements, aspirations and experience influence what happens to them later.
In the first year of data collection (the 2002 base year) ELS:2002 measured students' tested achievement and obtained information about their attitudes and experiences. These same 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. 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. 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.
As a study with many phases and components, ELS:2002 gathers information at multiple levels. Information has been obtained not just from students and their school records, but also from their parents, teachers, and administrators of their high school, including the principal and library media center director. The data collected from their teachers provides direct information about the student as well as the credentials and educational background information of the teacher. This multilevel focus supplies researchers with a comprehensive picture of the home, school, and community environments and their influences on the student.
Using this longitudinal, multilevel information, the base year (2002) and first follow-up (2004) of ELS:2002 help researchers and policy makers to explore and better understand such issues as the importance of home background and parental aspirations for their child's success; the influence of different coursetaking paths; the effectiveness of different high schools, and whether their effectiveness varies with their size, organization, climate or ethos, curriculum, academic press, or other characteristics.
After the high school years, ELS:2002 continues to follow its sample of students into postsecondary education and the labor market. The second follow-up (2006) provides data that can be used to examine the access of high school students to postsecondary institutions, their choices of enrollment and college major, some aspects of their college experience, and by the time of the third follow-up, which is planned for 2012, their postsecondary persistence, attainment, and eventual entry into the labor market. For those who go directly into the work force from high school, whether as dropouts or high school graduates, ELS:2002 can be used to examine how well their high school experience prepared them to succeed in the labor market. Some questions are also asked of all sample members about their volunteer service, service in the military, family formation, and other aspects of adult life.
ELS:2002 is conducted on behalf of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the United States Department of Education by the Research Triangle Institute (RTI)—a not-for-profit university-affiliated research organization with headquarters in North Carolina.
Data collection has completed. View a copy of the questionnaire here. Expect Third Follow-up data files and documentation to be released by late 2013.
Data collection is nearing completion. Third Follow-up data files and documentation will be released by late 2013.
Collection of third follow-up survey data is underway! Expect data to be released in 2013.
NEW! Online Bibliography Search Tool Search for publications featuring data from ELS:2002 including citations published from 2001 to August 2010.
Search for publications featuring data from ELS:2002 including citations published from 2001 to August 2010.
Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 Base Year to Second Follow-up Public-use Data These data are a Public-Use version of the ELS:2002/06 Restricted-use Base Year to Second Follow-up data (NCES 2008-346) released previously. These data can be downloaded using a new "EDAT" web application on the NCES website.
These data are a Public-Use version of the ELS:2002/06 Restricted-use Base Year to Second Follow-up data (NCES 2008-346) released previously. These data can be downloaded using a new "EDAT" web application on the NCES website.
July 17, 2012:Trends Among Young Adults Over Three Decades, 1974-2006
June 13, 2012:Digest of Education Statistics, 2011
May 17, 2012:Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002/12) Third Follow-Up Field Test Report
November 16, 2011:Characteristics of GED Recipients in High School: 2002–06