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High school transcript studies have been conducted by NCES as part of the Longitudinal Studies Program and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) High School Transcript Studies (HSTS) program since 1982. Each transcript study is associated with a major NCES data collection. The first NCES sponsored transcript study was associated with the High School and Beyond's (HS&B) first follow-up survey in 1982. Additional longitudinal studies beginning in 1988, 2002, and 2009 also collected transcripts after the end of high school. The National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS:88) 1992 second follow-up was associated with the 1992 transcript collection. A third transcript study associated with the longitudinal study series was conducted for the Educational Longitudinal Study (ELS:2002) in 2004/05. The High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) conducted a high school transcript study in 2013. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), an ongoing, cross-sectional assessment of student performance, has collected transcript data in 1987, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2009, and 2019.

What is Collected?

NCES high school transcript studies collect information that is contained on the student high school record—i.e., courses taken while attending secondary school; information on credits earned; year and term a specific course was taken; and, final grades. When available, information on class rank and standardized scores is also collected. Once collected, information (e.g., course name, credits earned, course grades) is transcribed and standardized (e.g., credits and credit hours standardized to a common metric) and can be linked back to the student's questionnaire or assessment data.

Purpose of Collecting Transcript Data

Transcripts include information that is considered to be the official and fixed record regarding student coursetaking behavior. It is considered to be more accurate than student self-report information and represents a record of courses taken by the student. This information can be used to examine coursetaking patterns of students and to predict future education outcomes.