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National Education Longitudinal Study, 1988 (ICPSR 9389)

Principal Investigator(s): United States Department of Education. National Center for Education Statistics


This collection represents the first stage of a major longitudinal effort to provide trend data about critical transitions experienced by students as they leave elementary school and progress through high school and into college or their careers. The 1988 eighth-grade cohort will be followed at two-year intervals as this group passes through high school and postsecondary education. The longitudinal data collected will yield policy-relevant information about educational processes and outcomes, early and later predictors of dropping out, and students' access to programs and equal opportunity. The study has four types of data files. The Parent Component was designed to collect information about the factors that influence educational attainment and participation, including questions exploring family background and socioeconomic conditions and character of the home educational system. The School Administrator component was designed to gather general descriptive information about the educational settings in which the surveyed students were enrolled in the winter and spring of 1988. These data were collected from the chief administrator of each base-year school and concern school characteristics, grading and testing structure, school culture and academic climate, program and facilities information, parental interactions and involvement, and teaching staff characteristics. The Student Component collected information on school work, aspirations, social relationships, and basic achievement areas such as reading, mathematics, science, and social studies. The Teacher Component provided data that could be used to analyze the behaviors and outcomes of the student sample. Teachers were surveyed about the base-year students' characteristics and performance in the classroom, curriculum and classes for eighth graders, and teacher demographics, professional characteristics, and relationships with other teachers, students, and parents.

Series: National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS) Series

Access Notes

  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Please log in so we can determine if you are with a member institution and have access to these data files.


DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Parent Component - Download All Files (57.005 MB)
ASCII + SPSS Setup   
DS2:  Parent Data SAS Cards - Download All Files (47.905 MB)

ASCII + SAS Setup   
DS3:  School Component - Download All Files (48.149 MB)
ASCII + SPSS Setup   
DS4:  School Component SAS Cards - Download All Files (47.815 MB)

ASCII + SAS Setup   
DS5:  Student Component - Download All Files (61.823 MB)
ASCII + SPSS Setup   
DS6:  Student Data SAS Cards - Download All Files (47.935 MB)

ASCII + SAS Setup   
DS7:  Teacher Component - Download All Files (60.263 MB)
ASCII + SPSS Setup   
DS8:  Teacher Component SAS Cards - Download All Files (47.831 MB)

ASCII + SAS Setup   

Study Description


U.S. Dept. of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. NATIONAL EDUCATION LONGITUDINAL STUDY, 1988. Chicago, IL: National Opinion Research Center [producer], 1989. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1990. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR09389.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR09389.v1

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    adolescents, academic achievement, cognitive functioning, curriculum, educational testing, educational trends, family background, educational environment, educational opportunities, home environment, junior high school students, learning, school attendance, socioeconomic status, student participation, teacher student relationship, test scores

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1988

Date of Collection:   

  • 1988--1989

Universe:    All eligible eighth graders in spring 1988.

Data Type(s):    survey data, and event/transaction data

Data Collection Notes:

SPSS Control Cards accompany each data file.


Sample:    A two-stage stratified probability sampling design was used to select a nationally representative sample of schools and students. The first stage resulted in 1,734 school selections with 1,052 participating schools, including 815 public and 237 private schools. The second stage produced a random selection of 26,435 students among the sampled schools, resulting in participation by 24,599 eighth-grade students.

Data Source:

personal interviews, and test scores


Original ICPSR Release:   1990-12-04

Version History:

  • 2006-01-18 File CB9389.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.

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