Rich New Resource on Postsecondary Attainment

April 17, 2015

A new federal report presents a wealth of data about how 2002's 10th graders fared in higher education (and not) a decade later -- potentially offering researchers and policy makers enormous insight into who attains postsecondary success and why.

The report offers a first look at new data from one of the U.S. Education Department's most important longitudinal research studies, the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002, which followed 10th graders through to the 2012-13 academic year. Eighty-four percent of those high school sophomores went on to at least some postsecondary education within that decade, while 16 percent did not, with those variations differing, somewhat predictably, for certain demographic traits (women were more likely to go on than men, students from wealthier socioeconomic backgrounds were more likely than their peers, etc.).

For those who went on to postsecondary education, the study examines what they attained (how many credits earned, whether they earned a credential and, if so, what kind), when and in what kind of institution they enrolled (13 percent of students attended a two-year institution first and then a four-year college, and 12 percent did the reverse), how they performed in terms of grade point average and other outcomes, and how many times they stopped their studies.

The report also includes data on the proportion of undergraduate credits that students actually earned versus those they attempted, and provides a slew of information on the characteristics of students who took at least one remedial course.

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