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How Are The Data Collected?

Beginning in the summer and continuing through the fall of the year, NCES collects high school transcripts from a nationally representative sample of both public and private schools that have been selected to participate in NAEP. A representative sample of graduating seniors within each school is selected. Most of the transcripts collected are those of students who participated in the NAEP assessments that year.

In general, the following materials are collected from the participating schools

  • a transcript for each student selected to participate in NAEP, that provides course information as well as general student background information (i.e., race/ethnicity, gender, and grade point average);.
  • a School Information Form, completed by the field worker or a school staff member, or sometimes by both, that provides general information about class periods, credits, graduation requirements, and other aspects of school policy;
  • a course catalog (or if a catalog is not available, a list of courses) offered for each of four consecutive years, for example, from 2005-2006 through 2008-2009; and 
  • for schools not participating in NAEP, a NAEP School Questionnaire, completed by a school official, that provides information about school, teacher, and home factors that might relate to student achievement.

Information is also collected through NAEP background questionnaires for SD/LEP students in schools not participating in NAEP. Students do not have to fill out any forms. To maintain the privacy of student and school identities, students’ names are removed from the transcripts and questionnaires and given a unique identification number. NCES ensures that the data collected from schools and students can be used for statistical purposes only.

After collection, the courses appearing on the student transcripts are coded using the Classification of Secondary School Courses, which contains over 2,200 course codes, and grade point average (GPA) is calculated.

Refer to the HSTS technical manuals and related publications for more details about how the data are collected.

Last updated 08 April 2011 (EP)