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Baccalaureate and Beyond
Longitudinal Study 93/94
First Follow-up Methodology Report

August 1996

(NCES 96-149) Ordering information

The following contains an excerpt from The Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B:93) First Follow-up Methodology Report. This excerpt describes the purpose, objectives, and study design. A full copy of this report is available in portable document format (Adobe Acrobat PDF). You need the Acrobat Reader software to view these files.

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1. An Overview of the Baccalaureate and Beyond Study

1.1 Purpose of the Study

The Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B:93) tracks the experiences of a cohort of recent college graduates, those who received the baccalaureate degree during the 1992-93 academic year and were first interviewed as part of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS). This group's experiences in the areas of academic enrollments, degree completions, employment, public service, and other adult decisions will be followed for about 12 years. Ultimately, B&B:93 will provide data to assess the outcomes of postsecondary education, graduate and professional program access, and rates of return on investment in education.

The U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is authorized to conduct the B&B:93 study under Section 404(a) of the National Education Statistics Act of 1994, Title IV of the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994, P.L. 103-382, which states:

"The duties of the Center are to collect, analyze, and disseminate statistics and other information related to education in the United States and in other nations, including (1) collecting, acquiring, compiling ..., and disseminating full and complete statistics on the condition and progress of education at the pre-school, elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels in the United States, including data on ...

1.2 Analytic Objectives

As the 1992-93 cohort of college and university graduates advances through adulthood, the effects of postsecondary education will become increasingly important. The B&B :93 study will provide data to address issues in several major areas of educational policy: educational attainment; access to graduate and professional schools; the rate of return on educational investment; and patterns of preparation and engagement in teaching.

Attainment and outcome assessment. Degree completion, licensing, and certification are central to educational attainment and outcome assessment. Questions in this area include the following:

Graduate and professional program access. Entrance into graduate or professional school after completing the bachelor's degree raises many of the same questions as initial entry into the work force. In many fields, it is necessary to complete a graduate program to get a job in the field. In other fields , such as teaching, additional study may be required to continue working or to be promoted in the field , even though graduate education is not required for initial entry into the field. In most fields, graduat e education enhances the ability to perform, even if it is not strictly required for entrance, continuation, or promotion. Therefore, it is important to determine whether persons who wish to continue their education beyond the baccalaureate degree have the opportunity to do so. Questions in this area include the following:

Rate of return. Rate of return refers to the financial payoff or other value of the bachelor' s degree relative to the expense in time and money of obtaining the degree. There are two perspe ctives for gauging the rate of return. From the perspective of the individual, the rate of return can be measured in terms of monetary reward and personal satisfaction. From the perspective of society, rate of return can be measured in terms of the contribution a student makes to the nation's productivity as well as through community involvement and public service. For example, societal returns to investments i n postsecondary education include the work performed by bachelor's degree recipients in public service areas such as teaching, volunteer work, and other community service.

For both the individual and society, rate of return can also be gauged by the adequacy of th e individual's preparation for entry into work and community service and by the individual's acquired abilit y to gain from and contribute to that experience. B&B:93 examines the rates of return from postsecondary education from the perspectives of both the individual and society. Specific questions include the following:

Patterns of teaching.Another important feature of the B&B:93 program is that the sample has been designed to facilitate the study of elementary and secondary school teaching careers. Data fro m B&B:93 will be used in the monitoring of supply and demand characteristics of the labor market, and career patterns of teachers, including movements into and away from this profession over time. Many of the same issues discussed earlier, concerning initial aspirations and expectations versus ultimat e decisions, will be examined. Additional considerations include measuring quality, noting comparative values, and measuring monetary returns to teaching. Specific questions that the B&B:93 program will help address include:

In summary, B&B:93 will contribute to a comprehensive statistical investigation of educational policy issues and help to fulfill NCES's mission, to report on the condition and progress of America n education in all its aspects. In recognition of its broad mandate, NCES has expanded its data collection program to investigate educational experiences beyond the traditional span of postsecondary education. Baccalaureate and Beyond, with its wealth of data on the consequences of postsecondary education, will contribute to the study of education as a lifelong process.

1.3 Study Design

The B&B:93/94 study is the first in a series of five follow-up interviews of persons who received a bachelor's degree in the 1992-1993 academic year. Baseline data for the B&B:93 cohort were collected as part of the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:93). The first follow-up intervie w (B&B:93/94) collected information from respondents one year after they received their bachelor's degree . Subsequent interviews will take place at three year intervals. By the end of the 12-year period, most students who attend graduate or professional schools should have completed, or nearly completed, their education and be established in their careers.

Data collection for the first follow-up of Baccalaureate and Beyond took place in the summer and fall of 1994. The B&B:93 cohort comprised approximately 12,500 individuals who were determined , in NPSAS, to be potentially eligible for follow-up in 1994. Respondents were interviewed using Computer-Assisted-Telephone-Interviewing (CATI), as well as field interviewing when necessary. In addition, undergraduate transcripts from the respondents' degree-granting institutions were collected as part of the first follow-up study. Data collection activities took place as follows:

B&B:93/94 CATI data collection / June 15, 1994 - October 8, 1994
B&B:93/94 Field data collection / August 20, 1994 - December 31, 1994
B&B:93/94 Transcript data collection / August 15, 1994 - December 31, 1994