The Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002) is a longitudinal survey that is monitoring the transitions of a national probability sample of 10th-graders in public, Catholic, and other private schools. Survey waves follow both students and high school dropouts and monitor the transition of the cohort to postsecondary education, the labor force, and family formation.
In the base year of the study, of 1,200 eligible contacted schools, 750 participated, for an overall weighted school participation rate of approximately 68 percent (62 percent unweighted). Of 17,600 selected eligible students, 15,400 participated, for an overall weighted student response rate of approximately 87 percent. (School and student weighted response rates reflect use of the base weight [design weight] and do not include nonresponse adjustments.) Information for the study is obtained not just from students and their school records, but also from the students’ parents, their teachers, their librarians, and the administrators of their schools.
The first follow-up was conducted in 2004, when most sample members were high school seniors. Base-year students who remained in their base schools were resurveyed and tested in mathematics. Sample freshening was conducted to make the study representative of spring 2004 high school seniors nationwide. Students who were not still at their base schools were all administered a questionnaire. The first follow-up weighted student response rate was 89 percent.
The second follow-up, conducted in 2006, continued to follow the sample of students into postsecondary education, the workforce, or both. The weighted student response rate for this follow-up was 82 percent. The third follow-up, which had a weighted student response rate of 78 percent, was conducted in 2012; the data were released in January 2014.
The postsecondary transcript data collection was conducted in 2013–14. Postsecondary transcripts were requested for each of the ELS:2002 sample members who reported attending an IPEDS postsecondary institution. Transcripts were obtained for 11,623 of 12,549 eligible sample members for a weighted response rate of 77 percent. For more information on the postsecondary transcript data collection, see Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002): A First Look at the Postsecondary Transcripts of 2002 High School Sophomores (NCES 2015-034).
Further information on ELS:2002 may be obtained from
Longitudinal Surveys Branch
Sample Surveys Division
National Center for Education Statistics
550 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20202