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Overview: Purpose

Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002) Features

  • Nationally representative, longitudinal study of 10th graders in 2002 and 12th graders in 2004
  • Students followed throughout secondary and postsecondary years
  • Surveys of students, their parents, math and English teachers, and school administrators
  • Student assessments in math (10th & 12th grades) and English (10th grade)
  • High school transcripts available for research on coursetaking

ELS:2002 Focus

  • What are students' trajectories from the beginning of high school into postsecondary education, the workforce, and beyond?
  • What are the different patterns of college access and persistence that occur in the years following high school completion

ELS:2002 Data Collection Waves

  • Base Year (2002) – Available now
  • First Follow-up (2004) – Available now
  • High School Transcripts (2005) – Available now (Restricted-use only)
  • Second Follow-up (2006) – Available now
  • Third Follow-up (2012) – Available now
  • Postsecondary Transcripts (2013) – Available now

highlight icon of a check markHighlights

August 2015:

Public-use ELS:2002 data are now available for analysis using the PowerStats tool in the NCES DataLab. Visit the DataLab site to create your own tables and run regressions using ELS data!

April 2015:

ELS Postsecondary Education Transcript Study data will be released on April 16th, 2015.

February 2015:

Data files and documentation for the ELS Postsecondary Education Transcript Study are currently being developed. Expect release of data by mid-2015. Most of these data will require a Restricted-use License to access. If you don’t have one, learn how you can get one here.

November 2014:

NCES has released online ELS training modules! Click here to view.

November 2014:

Data preparation and processing for the ELS Postsecondary Education Transcripts are underway. Expect ELS PETS data to be released in mid-2015.

February 2014:

New Third Follow-up data are now available! Public-use data are available for download here or find out how to apply for a restricted-use license here.

January 2014:

The First Look report from the Third Follow-up data collection (2012) has been released. View this report here. Expect release of Third Follow-up data files very soon.

November 2013:

Data release has been delayed as a result of the Federal shutdown in October. We are working to get the data release back on schedule as quickly as possible. We encourage you to sign up for NewsFlash and to apply for a restricted-use license now, to be ready to use the data as soon as it becomes available.

August 2013:

Data files and documentation for the Third Follow-up collection are nearing release this fall. Sign up for NewsFlash to receive an alert as soon as new data become available!

April 2013:

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.

July 2012:

Collection of third follow-up survey data is underway! Expect data to be released in 2013.

June 2011:

NEW! Online Bibliography Search Tool

Search for publications featuring data from ELS:2002 including citations published from 2001 to August 2010.

highlight icon of a check mark Recent Publications

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

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National Center for Education Statistics -
U.S. Department of Education