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PEDAR: Research Methodology  First-Generation Students in Postsecondary Education: A Look at Their College Transcripts
The Naitonal Education Longitudinal Study of 1988
The NELS:88 Postsecondary Education Transcript Study
Analysis Sample and Weights
Accuracy of Estimates
Data Analysis System
Statistical Procedures
Differences Between Means
Linear Trends
Multivariate Commonality Analysis
Executive Summary
Full Report (PDF)
Executive Summary (PDF)
 The Naitonal Education Longitudinal Study of 1988

The National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88), a major longitudinal study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), began in 1988 with a nationally representative, two-stage stratified probability sample of 1,052 8th-grade schools across the nation and 26,432 sampled students in the schools. Of the sampled students, 24,599 participated. This cohort were followed up in 1990, when most of the cohort members were in 10th grade; in 1992, when most of the cohort members were in 12th grade; and in 1994 and 2000, when most of the cohort members had been out of high school for 2 and 8 years, respectively. In addition, the study was designed not only to follow a cohort of 8th-grade students over time but also to “freshen” the sample in the 1990 and 1992 surveys to obtain a representative sample of students enrolled in 10th grade in 1990 and in 12th grade in 1992 that could be compared with the earlier cohorts from the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 (NLS:72) and the High School and Beyond Longitudinal Study (HS&B).

Along with the student survey, NELS:88 included surveys of parents, teachers, school administrators, and school dropouts. A majority of sample members also completed cognitive tests administered in 1988, 1990, and 1992. In 1992, high school transcripts were collected for sample members, and in 2000, postsecondary transcripts were collected, further increasing the analytic potential of the data. Consequently, NELS:88 represents an integrated system of data that tracked students from middle school through secondary and postsecondary education and examined their labor market experiences, and marriage and family formation between 1988 and 2000. For more technical information about the NELS:88 surveys, see The National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988: Base-Year to Fourth Follow-Up Data File User’s Manual (Curtin et al. 2002).

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