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National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88) Features

  • Nationally representative, longitudinal study of 8th graders in 1988.
  • Sample of students followed throughout secondary and postsecondary years.
  • Surveys of students reporting on school, work, home experiences, educational resources and support, the role in education of parents and peers, neighborhood characteristics, educational and occupational aspirations, and other student perceptions. Additional topics included self-reports on smoking, alcohol and drug use and extracurricular activities.
  • Student assessments in reading, social studies, mathematics, and science (8th, 10th, and 12th grades).
  • Students' teachers, parents, and school administrators were also surveyed.
  • High school and postsecondary transcripts data available for research on coursetaking and grades.

NELS:88 Focus

  • Trend data about critical transitions experienced by students as they leave middle or junior high school, and progress through high school and into postsecondary institutions or the work force.

NELS:88 Data Collection Waves

  • Base Year (1988) — Available now
  • High School Transcripts (1988) — Available now
  • First Follow-up (1990) — Available now
  • Second Follow-up (1992) — Available now
  • Third Follow-up (1994) — Available now
  • Fourth Follow-up (2000) — Available now
  • Postsecondary Transcripts (2000) — Available now

highlight icon of a check mark Highlights

February 20, 2018:

Digest of Education Statistics, 2016

January 10, 2017:

NCES-Barron's Admissions Competitiveness Index Data Files: 1972, 1982, 1992, 2004, , 2008, 2014

December 8, 2016:

Digest of Education Statistics, 2015

July 21, 2016:

Career and Technical Education Coursetaking and Postsecondary Enrollment and Attainment: High School Classes of 1992 and 2004

November 2015:

NCES-Barron’s Admissions Competitiveness Index Data files: 1972, 1982, 1992, 2004, 2008, and 2014 are now available. This file has been updated with new 2014 data from Barron’s American College Profiles (2015 edition). It is available as a restricted-use data file. The data is based on 4-year colleges and universities. The Barron’s ratings can be linked to the elementary/secondary and postsecondary longitudinal studies and can be used for the analysis of 4-year colleges and universities using the NCES postsecondary institution IDs. Contact IES Data Security to request access.