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More About the NAEP High School Transcript Study

Through the NAEP High School Transcript Study (HSTS), the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), periodically surveys the curricula being followed in our nation's high schools and the coursetaking patterns of high school students through a collection of transcripts. Conducted in conjunction with the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), HSTS also offers information on the relationship of student coursetaking patterns to achievement at grade 12 as measured by NAEP. With the most recently reported 2009 study, HSTS provides over a decade of valuable findings to the education community.

The 2009 transcript study was conducted from late spring through the January 2010 after the administration of NAEP. Transcripts were collected for twelfth-grade students who graduated high school by the end of the collection period. Most students also participated in the NAEP assessments earlier that same year.

NAEP-related transcript studies were also conducted in previous years. Transcripts were collected from seniors who graduated in 1987, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2005 and were collected again in 2009.

Year conducted Approximate number of transcripts collected Achievement data from NAEP assessment
2009 37,600 mathematics, science
2005 26,000 mathematics, science
2000 21,000 mathematics, science
1998 25,400 civics, reading, writing
1994 25,100 geography, reading, U.S. history
1990 21,100 mathematics, science, reading
1987 25,000 mathematics, science

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, High School Transcript Study (HSTS), 2009, 2005, 2000, 1998, 1994, 1990, 1987.

The results of the various NAEP transcript studies are generally comparable. They have used common populations of study, as well as the same systems for classifying courses and standardizing grade point average. Learn more about HSTS design or refer to the following technical manuals for more information:

Other Transcript Studies

Additional transcript studies were conducted in 1982 in conjunction with the second follow-up survey of the High School and Beyond Study (HS&B), in 1992 in conjunction with the second follow-up of the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88), and in 2004 in conjunction with the first follow-up study of the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002).

The HS&B describes the activities of seniors and sophomores as they progressed through high school, postsecondary education, and into the workplace. The data span from 1980 through 1992 and include parent and teacher data, high school transcripts, student financial aid records, and postsecondary transcripts in addition to student questionnaires and interviews.

The NELS:88 study, which began with an eighth-grade cohort in 1988, provides trend data about critical transitions experienced by young people as they develop, attend school, and embark on their careers. Data were collected from students and their parents, teachers, and high school principals and from existing school records such as high school transcripts. Cognitive tests (math, science, reading, and history) were administered during the base year (1988), first follow-up (1990), and second follow-up (1992). Third follow-up data were collected in 1994 and the fourth in 2000. All dropouts who could be located were retained in the study.

The ELS:2002 report started with a tenth-grade cohort in 2002, monitors the transition of the cohort to postsecondary education, the labor force, and family formation. The base-year study comprised surveys of parents, teachers, school administrators, and library media specialists, as well as the cohort of high school sophomores. At the end of the 2003-2004 school year, transcripts were collected for those students selected in 2002 who had graduated by the end of 2003-2004 school year. Student performance was also measured.

Last updated 20 June 2012 (TO)