Achievement Tests

Achievement Tests

Created Variables

The following achievement test created variables were added beginning in round 9 (note: SAT and ACT scores were last collected in round 11). These are cross-round (XRND) variables, which means they were created for all eligible respondents regardless of their interview status in a particular year:

CVC_SAT_VERBAL_SCORE_2007 and CVC_SAT_MATH_SCORE_2007. These variables provide the respondent's highest self-reported SAT verbal and math scores, respectively, as of 2007.

CVC_SAT_VERBAL_RND_2007 and CVC_SAT_MATH_RND_2007. These variables give the specific survey round in which the respondent had the highest SAT verbal score and math score, respectively, as of 2007.

CVC_ACT_SCORE_2007. This variable provides the respondent's highest self-reported ACT score as of 2007.

CVC_ACT_RND_2007. This variable gives the specific survey round in which the respondent had his/her highest ACT score as of 2007.

The following variables were created using transcript survey information:

TRANS_SAT_VERBAL and TRANS_SAT_MATH. These variables provide the respondent's verbal score and math score, respectively, from SAT; obtained by transcript survey.

TRANS_SATII_BIO. This variable provides the respondent's highest test score on a SAT II Biology exam; obtained by transcript survey. Also available: SAT II scores for Math I, Math II, Chemistry, English Literature, English writing, American History and Social Studies, and World History.

TRANS_ACT_COMP. This provides the respondent's composite ACT score; obtained by transcript survey.

TRANS_ACT_ENG. This provides the respondent's score on the ACT English subtest; obtained by transcript survey. Also available: Reading and Math subtest scores.


Important Information About Using Achievement Test Data

In the data set, the variables for each test are identified only by loop numbers; users must know which loop numbers correspond to each test to use these data. For example, the round 1 data include questions YSCH-8200.01 and YSCH-8200.02, for which the question text reads, "What grades were you in when you took the [SAT or ACT]?" For all questions such as this, variables with "TEST 01" in the title provide information about the SAT and variables with "TEST 02" in the title pertain to the ACT. Similarly, in round 1, for questions about the ACT (for example: YSCH-9200.01-YSCH-9200.05, "Highest Score R Received on ACT Test"), the test number in the variable title indicates the ACT subtest to which the variable applies. (In rounds 2 and up, only the overall ACT score is obtained). The round 1 ACT subtests are coded as follows:

Test 01=English
Test 02=Math
Test 03=Reading
Test 04=Science Reasoning
Test 05=Composite

Both the youth and the parent questionnaires have collected information about the youth's performance on various standardized achievement tests. SAT and ACT scores were last collected in round 11. In addition, scores are available for some respondents from the transcript survey, which collects transcripts as respondents leave high school.

Youth Questionnaire. Achievement test information was collected in round 1 from respondents who were enrolled in or who last attended the 9th grade or higher and from respondents with a GED or a high school diploma. The NLSY97 questioned these respondents about three specific achievement tests--the SAT, American College Test (ACT), and Advanced Placement (AP) tests. For each test reported, the respondent stated the grade level(s) when it was taken and the highest score earned on each test (SAT Verbal, SAT Math, and ACT). Those who took AP exams were also asked for the subjects of the tests (e.g., biology, history, economics).

In rounds 2 and up, similar information was gathered from respondents who last attended the 11th grade or higher. For the SAT and ACT, the survey asked for the grade level(s) when each test was taken and the highest score received. In these surveys, respondents who took AP exams were only asked for the subject areas of these tests and did not report their scores.

Parent Questionnaire (round 1). If the youth had been exclusively home-schooled since the seventh grade, the responding parent was asked about achievement tests taken. These questions included whether the youth had ever taken a standardized achievement test (e.g., SAT, ACT, or California Achievement Test [CAT]). If the NLSY97 respondent had taken one or more of these tests, the parent reported the year when that youth last took a test with a math component and the highest score he or she ever received on that component. The parent then reported the same information for the last test the youth took with a verbal component.

Transcript Survey. In 1999-2000 and in 2004, school transcripts were collected for a total of 6,232 respondents. If these transcripts included scores on achievement tests such as the ACT, PSAT, SAT, SAT II, or AP tests, those scores are reported in the transcript data file. More information is provided in School & Transcript Surveys.

Comparison to Other NLS Surveys: Achievement test scores were collected during special transcript or school surveys for the NLSY79, the Young Women, and the Young Men. These scores were reported by the schools or coded from the respondent's transcript, rather than being reported by the respondent as in the NLSY97. NLSY79 data include PSAT, SAT, or ACT scores for about a quarter of civilian respondents, as well as scores for smaller numbers of respondents on a variety of other achievement and intelligence tests. Available scores for respondents in the Young Men's and Young Women's cohorts are primarily from the California Test of Maturity and the Otis/Beta/Gamma; a few respondents have SAT I or ACT scores recorded, and a wide variety of other tests are also included. For more precise information, see the appropriate cohort's User's Guide.

Survey Instruments: Questions on achievement tests are found in the schooling section (question names begin with YSCH) of the Youth Questionnaire and in section PC8 of the round 1 Parent Questionnaire. The data from the Transcript Survey may also contain achievement test scores.

Related User's Guide Sections Administration of the CAT-ASVAB
PIAT Math Test
College Experience
School Experience
School & Transcript Surveys
Main Area of Interest Education: Achievement Tests
Supplemental Areas of Interest Education: College Experience
Educational Status & Attainment
Education: School Experience