Survey Design and Sample Sizes

Base Year (1980)

Baseline survey of high school seniors and sophomores, 1980.

  • The sample design called for 1,100 schools with 36 seniors and 36 sophomores per school, size permitting.
  • Survey instruments included: sophomore questionnaire, senior questionnaire, student identification pages, series of cognitive tests for each cohort, school questionnaire, teacher comment checklist, parent questionnaire

First Follow-up (1982)

  • Sample consisted of 30,000 1980 sophomores and 12,000 1980 seniors.
  • All students from the 1980 base year sample were contacted regardless of their previous participation.
  • Information collected included school, family, work experiences, educational and occupational aspirations, personal values, and test scores for the sophomore cohort.
  • High school and postsecondary experiences information were the main focuses for the senior cohort.
  • The main method of collection for the senior cohort was a self-administered mail-back questionnaire, with in-person or telephone interviews for 19% of respondents.
  • The main method of collection for the sophomore cohort were group questionnaires and tests.

Second Follow-up (1984)

  • 15,000 1980 sophomores and 12,000 1980 seniors were retained in the second follow-up.
  • Data collected included work experience, postsecondary schooling, earnings, and periods of unemployment for both the senior and sophomore cohorts.
  • Self-administered mail-back questionnaires were used to collect data for both the senior and sophomore cohorts

Third Follow-up (1986)

  • The cohort samples for the third follow-up were the same as the samples for the second follow-up.
  • Data collected included updates to background information and data about work experience, unemployment history, education and training, family information, income and other experiences and opinions.
  • Self-administered mail-back questionnaires were used to collect data.
  • A transcript study was also conducted for the sophomore cohort

Fourth Follow-up (1992)

  • Information was collected regarding five issue areas: access to and choice of undergraduate and graduate educational institutions, persistence in obtaining educational goals, progress through the curriculum, rates of degree attainment and other 6 assessments of educational outcomes, and rates of return to the individual and society.
  • Focused exclusively on the high school sophomore class of 1980 with 15,000 members.
  • Members were administered a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) to collect data.
  • Verification of employment and education information from the previous follow-up.

High School Transcripts (1983)

  • Transcripts for a subsample of the first follow-up respondents were collected, numbering nearly 18,500 members of the sophomore cohort of 1980.

Postsecondary Transcripts (1993)

  • Transcripts were requested from vocational and academic institutions for sophomore members who reported postsecondary attendance after the 1987 transcript study.