National Longitudinal Study of the Class of 1972 (ICPSR 8085)

Version Date: Feb 25, 1999 View help for published

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United States Department of Education. Center for Education Statistics


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This longitudinal data collection supplies information on the educational, vocational, and personal development of young people who were high school seniors in 1972 and examines the kinds of factors -- personal, familial, social, institutional, and cultural -- that may affect that development. The collection provides a broad spectrum of information on each student and covers areas such as ability, socioeconomic status, home background, community environment, ethnicity, significant others, current activity at time of survey, educational attainment, school experiences, school performance, work status, work performance and satisfaction, goal orientations, marriage and the family, and military experience. Data collected in the base-year (1972) focus on factors relating to the student's personal/family background, education and work experiences, plans, aspirations, attitudes, and opinions. The first follow-up, which was conducted in 1973, offers information on the respondent's activity state (education, work, etc.), socioeconomic status, work and educational experience since leaving high school, future plans, and expectations. The second follow-up (1974) probes respondents on similar measures but is augmented by additional variables pertaining to work and education. The third follow-up (1976) contains additional items on graduate school application and entry, job supervision, sex roles, sex and race biases, and a subjective rating of high school experiences. The fourth follow-up (1979) offers data similar to the other follow-ups but includes some variables that were modified to elicit unique information. For the fifth follow-up, the sample members averaged 32 years of age and had been out of high school for 14 years. In addition to covering the same subject areas as the previous surveys, this follow-up includes additional questions on marital history, divorce, child support, and economic relationships in modern families. Part 1 of this collection contains base-year data as well as data collected during four subsequent follow-ups undertaken in 1973, 1974, 1976, and 1979, while Part 12 contains fifth follow-up data for 1986. Part 2, the School File, contains information obtained from the respondent's high school and also from high school counselors. Data are available on school organization and enrollment, course offerings, special services and programs, library and other resources, time scheduling, and grading systems. Counselor information is supplied on work loads, counseling practices and facilities, experience with student financial aid programs, age, ethnicity, training, and experience. A supplementary School District Census File, Part 3, contains 1970 Census data tabulated by school district boundaries. In addition, the collection includes an FICE Code File and a CEEB Institutional Data Base File that can be used in conjunction with the student file to supply contextual information about respondents' colleges. The Institutional Data Base File offers data for colleges and universities on items such as enrollment, income and revenues, expenses, tuition and fees, and median student scores on standardized tests. Parts 6, 7, 9, and 10 contain transcript data from each postsecondary institution reported by sample members in the first through fourth follow-up surveys. Data are available for several types of postsecondary institutions, ranging from short-term vocational or occupational programs through major universities with graduate programs and professional schools. Data in these four rectangular files -- Student, Transcript, Term, and Course Files -- are organized to be used in combination hierarchically. Information is available on terms of attendance, fields of study, specific courses taken, and grades and credits earned. The Fifth Follow-Up Teaching Supplement (Parts 15-17) surveyed those members of the original 1972 sample who had obtained teaching certificates and/or who had teaching experience. Respondents were asked questions about their qualifications, experience, and attitudes toward teaching.

United States Department of Education. Center for Education Statistics. National Longitudinal Study of the Class of 1972    . [distributor], 1999-02-25.

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  1. (1) Educational Testing Service (ETS) conducted the base-year survey, Research Triangle Institute (RTI) administered the first through fourth follow-ups, and National Opinion Research Center (NORC) collected data for the fifth follow-up. (2) Parts 1 and 2 have machine-readable codebooks in ASCII text format, and Parts 12 and 15 (fifth follow-up data) are documented by a codebook (Part 32) in Portable Document Format (PDF). In addition, assorted user manuals are provided as PDF files. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided through the ICPSR Website on the Internet. (3) Supplementary documentation for this collection is available on microfiche.


The sample design for the base-year (1972) survey was a stratified two-stage probability sample. Schools were selected with equal probabilities from 600 strata. Schools in low-income areas and schools with high proportions of minority group enrollment were sampled at twice the rate used for remaining schools. Two schools from each of the final 600 strata were sampled and then a simple random sample of 18 students from each of the sampled schools was chosen.

Students in all public and private schools in the United States that contained twelfth graders in the 1971-1972 academic year. Excluded were students from schools for the physically or mentally handicapped, from schools for legally confined students, and from those special institutions such as vocational schools where students were also enrolled in other high schools in the sampling frame.

personal interviews, telephone interviews, and mail questionnaires. Part 5: 1973-1974 Higher Education Directory, 1973-1974 Tripartite Application Data File, 1972-1973 HEGIS Finance Survey, and 1972 ACE Institutional Characteristics file



2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • U.S. Dept. of Education, Center for Education Statistics. NATIONAL LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF THE CLASS OF 1972. ICPSR version. Chicago, IL: National Opinion Research Center [producer], 1992. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1999.

1999-02-25 Three user manuals and their associated appendices, Parts 18-34, have been added to this collection, along with a PDF codebook for the fifth follow-up data (Part 32).



  • Curation and dissemination of this study is provided by the institutional members of ICPSR, and data is available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. To determine if you are at a member institution, check the list of ICPSR member institutions, or learn more about becoming a member.

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