Education, Training & Achievement Scores: An Introduction

Education, Training & Achievement Scores: An Introduction

Data on NLSY97 respondents' educational activities, attitudes, and status are obtained in questions on schooling. These grade-appropriate questions ask about the respondent's educational experience prior to high school, in high school, and in college. 

NLSY97 data include formal training experiences of respondents outside of their regular schooling.

The school and transcript surveys gathered data about the schools in the NLSY97 sample areas and the academic records of NLSY97 respondents.

In round 1, most NLSY97 respondents participated in the administration of a national test, the computerized version of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). In addition, certain NLSY97 respondents took the Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT) Math Assessment as a part of the interview.  Finally, the NLSY97 instruments have also collected information from respondents about a variety of standardized achievement tests (such as the ACT and SAT) that respondents may have taken in junior high or high school.

Table 1 summarizes the NLSY97 education, training, and achievement test topics available, along with their universes.

Table 1. Education, Training & Achievement Scores Topics and Universe Restrictions

NLSY97 User's Guide Topic Round 1 Universe Rounds 2-6 Universe Rounds 7 and up Universe
College Experience Includes (1) information about each college, such as degree sought, number of credits accumulated, characteristics of the institution; and (2) information about each college term, such as courseload, GPA, major, costs, and financial aid. College transcript data were collected in 2012-2013. all ages; enrolled
in college
all ages; enrolled
in college
all ages; enrolled
in college
  • College Choice: Provides information about the college that respondents have applied to.
 --  -- 1983 and 1984 birth cohorts,
completed 12th grade or GED
Educational Status & Attainment Includes information on highest grade attempted and completed, date high school diploma or GED was awarded, and date left high school. Also includes event history variables that tell in what grade, school, type of school the respondent was enrolled for each month. all ages  all ages  all ages
School-Based Learning Programs Respondents provide information about programs at their school that connect the respondents to the world of work. all ages; not yet enrolled in college all ages; currently enrolled in K-12 all ages; discontinued after round 12
School Experience Collects information on high school classes and grade, as well as scores on standardized tests. all ages; enrolled
in school
all ages; enrolled
in school
all ages; enrolled
in school
School & Transcript Surveys   
  • School Surveys: Provides information on characteristics of school, staff, and student body for all high schools in the NLSY97 PSUs.
1996: all high schools in NLSY97 sample areas
2000: all high schools in sample areas and any other attended by a respondent in round 2.
  • High School Transcript Survey: Provides information on courses taken and grades received in high school plus courses and programs offered by the high school.
Wave 1: all respondents who graduated from high school or age 18 and not enrolled in high school, and signed a permission form
Wave 2: all respondents without data from wave 1, with a signed permission form
  • Post-secondary Transcript Survey: Provides data on credits, courses, degrees awarded and other info from respondents' post-secondary enrollment.
Collected in 2012-2013; all ages; post-secondary enrollment
       
 NLSY97 User's Guide Topic Round 1 Universe Rounds 2-6 Universe Rounds 7 and up Universe
Training Information on training programs in which respondents participate age 16 and older age 16 and older all ages
Achievement Tests Information on ACT, SAT, and AP tests scores all ages eleventh grade or higher eleventh grade or higher (SAT and ACT scores last collected in round 11).
Administration of the CAT-ASVAB Information on computerized-adaptive form of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery all ages  --  --
PIAT Math Test Information on Peabody Individual Achievement Test, math subtest score all ages; ninth grade or lower  age 12 as of 12/31/96; ninth grade or lower in Round 1
(in Round 6, restricted to respondents in high school)
--
 
 Note: See Educational Status & Attainment for the definition of "enrolled."    
 

Important Information For Using Education Data

  1. Users who wish to examine only K-12 schools or only colleges should use the "school code" roster variables (NEWSCHOOL_SCHCODE.xx question name) to separate the two levels of institutions.
  2. Before attempting data analysis with education variables, researchers should understand key differences between the round 1 and subsequent surveys, as well as the structure of the school roster in the data from rounds 2 and up. The remainder of this introductory section summarizes this important information.

Structure of Education Questions in Questionnaire

Round 1 Questionnaire Administration

In round 1, if the youth respondent had not attended college, the schooling section of the youth questionnaire collected information about the school currently or most recently attended by the youth. If the respondent had attended college, the questionnaire permitted the collection of information about all colleges attended, not just the current or most recent college. However, no respondents had attended more than one college as of the round 1 interview date. Therefore, in effect all respondents provided information only about their current or most recent school, regardless of whether that institution was a K-12 school or a college. In addition, if the respondent's current or most recent school was a college, or if the respondent had completed grade 12 and was not currently enrolled, the survey asked a set of retrospective questions regarding the respondent's classes and grades in high school, as well as attainment of a high school diploma or GED. Figure 1, in the link below, shows the information gathered in the round 1 schooling section.

Figure 1. Round 1 Schooling Section

For youths with a parent interview, this school-specific information collected from the respondent is supplemented by retrospective data about the youth's schooling. The parent reported information about all schools attended by the youth since 7th grade and answered questions about gaps in enrollment of one month or more. These data are described in School Experience but are not reflected in Figure 1.

Questionnaire Administration in Subsequent Rounds

In rounds 2 and up, the schooling section of the youth questionnaire used a retrospective format. The section recorded information about all schools the respondent had attended since the last interview. The section first referred to the school (current or most recent) reported by the youth at the time of the last interview and then collected information about all schools attended since that date. The names of these schools and the dates they were attended by the respondent are organized on the NEWSCHOOL roster (school names are not released to the public). This roster also contains variables indicating the reason the respondent left the school; the level of the school (elementary, middle/junior high, high school, college); the type of school (for example, public or private); and the interview during which the school was first reported (that is, in round 1, round 2, etc.). Finally, each school is assigned an identification number (NEWSCHOOL_PUBID) so that users can tell if a respondent attended the same school in more than one round. The ID variables do not let users identify multiple respondents attending the same school. After the roster was created, the survey proceeded to ask about the respondent's experiences at each high school or college.

Figure 2 summarizes the flow of the schooling section for rounds 2 and up. Note that "DOLI" is an abbreviation for the phrase "date of last interview."

Figure 2. Rounds 2 and up Schooling Section

The NEWSCHOOL roster, a list of the respondent's schools, was a new feature of the round 2 schooling section and was used again in later rounds. This roster is somewhat similar to the YEMP roster used in the employment section. For each school attended since the previous interview, this roster contains the dates of up to three periods of enrollment at each school, the level of school attended, and the round in which the school was first reported. See Types of Variables: Raw, Symbols, Rosters & Created for more information about the way rosters are constructed during the interview and how researchers can use rosters in analyses.

The remainder of this section provides an example illustrating the NEWSCHOOL roster's structure:

Suppose a respondent named Harvey reported being enrolled in Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School at the time of the round 1 interview. In round 2, this will be the first school that the respondent is asked about and will, except in very rare cases, be the first school that appears on the NEWSCHOOL roster. Each school is assigned a pubid that is based on the round that it is first reported. In this example, the NEWSCHOOL_PUBID variable associated with this school will equal 101.

Let's say that in round 2 Harvey reported graduating from Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School the previous spring and then enrolling that fall at John F. Kennedy High School, the school at which he is currently enrolled. The PUBID variable will be assigned based on the school's status as a newly reported round 2 school and will thus be set at 201. When all schools that the respondent has attended since the date of last interview and the dates of enrollment at each school have been collected, the NEWSCHOOL roster will be sorted based on the date the respondent last attended the school. The roster is then sorted from least-recently attended to most-recently attended. Thus, in this example, Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School will appear on line 1 of the NEWSCHOOL roster, and John F. Kennedy High School will appear on line 2 of the NEWSCHOOL roster. This means that in round 2, the variables NEWSCHOOL_PUBID.01 and NEWSCHOOL_PUBID.02 will equal 101 and 201, respectively. Throughout the rest of the schooling section, the school line numbers remain constant, so that each variable containing, for example, the phrase "School 01" refers to Harvey's experience at Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School, and the phrase "School 02" refers to Harvey's experience at John F. Kennedy High School.

Now let's move ahead to round 5, where Harvey has reported graduating from John F. Kennedy High School during the spring following his round 4 interview. He now reports his current enrollment at Big State University. On Harvey's round 5 NEWSCHOOL roster, line 1 will list John F. Kennedy High School, still with a PUBID of 201, and Big State University will appear on line 2 of the NEWSCHOOL roster with a PUBID of 501. As with the previous examples involving the middle school and the high school, the school line numbers throughout the section will remain constant. John F. Kennedy High School will appear as "School 01" and Big State University will appear as "School 02." However, the presence of a college on the NEWSCHOOL roster adds some complexity to the section as there are several questions in the schooling section specifically about colleges. It is important to note that although many variables in the schooling section contain the phrase "COLL 02" or "COLLEGE 02," these variables are still sorted according to the NEWSCHOOL roster. In this example, questions in the college loop about Big State University will say "COLL 02" even though it is the first and only college reported during this interview period. There will be no data in the section for "COLL 01" because "COLL 01" is actually John F. Kennedy High School, and because it is not a college, all college loops questions about this school will be skipped.

Table 2 below demonstrates the implications of the roster numbering system.

Table 2. School Numbers in the NEWSCHOOL Roster

Question topic School #01 School #02 School #03
Respondent 1: Has attended 1 high school and 2 colleges since the last interview
School level High school College College
Roster items (Qname NEWS_) Valid data for "School #01" Valid data for "School #02" Valid data for "School #03"
High school questions Valid data for "School #01" No data except initial check No data except initial check
College questions No data except initial check Valid data for "College #02" (the youth's 1st college) Valid data for "College #03" (the youth's 2nd college)
Respondent 2: Has attended 1 high school and 1 college since the last interview
School level High school College --
Roster items (Qname NEWS_) Valid data for "School #01" Valid data for "School #02" --
High school questions Valid data for "School #01" No data except initial check --
College questions No data except initial check Valid data for "College #02" (the youth's 1st college) --
Respondent 3: Has attended 3 high schools and no colleges since the last interview
School level High school High school High school
Roster items (Qname NEWS_) Valid data for "School #01" Valid data for "School #02" Valid data for "School #03"
High school questions Valid data for "School #01" Valid data for "School #02" Valid data for "School #03"
College questions No data except initial check No data except initial check No data except initial check
Respondent 4: Has attended 2 colleges and no high schools since the last interview
School level College College --
Roster items (Qname NEWS_) Valid data for "School #01" Valid data for "School #02" --
High school questions No data except initial check No data except initial check --
College questions Valid data for "College #01" (the youth's 1st college) Valid data for "College #02" (the youth's 2nd college) --