The study includes a math assessment and survey component in the fall of 9th grade (2009) and again in the spring of most students' 11th grade year (2012). Dropouts are followed with certainty and surveyed again at the same time as the rest of the sample who remain in school.
A very brief follow-up data collection is planned for the spring of students' expected graduation year, 2013, to record students' postsecondary options and plans.
Subsequent data collections are planned to occur three years after the expected graduation year (in 2016) to learn about students' postsecondary experiences, and again in 2021 to learn about participants' choices, decisions, attainment, and experiences in adulthood.
The study involves a nationally representative sample of 944 high schools, including both public and private schools. An average of 25 ninth-graders per school were selected, for a total of about 24,000 students.
The HSLS population consists of all ninth-graders across the U.S. enrolled in regular public, Catholic, and other private schools that include 9th and 11th grades.
Students are randomly selected from sampled high schools to participate in HSLS:09. These students' parents and math and science teachers are invited to complete surveys, as are the school administrator and lead school counselor in each selected school.