Thursday, October 17, 2013

America’s Ninth Graders Two Years Later

High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) First Follow-up: A First Look at Fall 2009 Ninth-Graders in 2012 introduces new data from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 collected in the spring of 2012 when most sample members were in their 11th-grade year. The analyses examine students’ educational expectations; students’ math performance on an algebra assessment, including gains since the 9th grade; students’ math and science efficacy; and students’ initial planning for postsecondary educational application and enrollment.

Findings of particular interest include: the percentage of students uncertain about their educational expectations decreased as they progressed through high school—from 22 percent among ninth-graders to 11 percent two and a half years later. Over this time interval, the percentage of ninth-graders with “college graduation” expectations increased from 17 percent to 28 percent.

Of the students who were ninth-graders in 2009, most (93 percent) were in grade 11 in 2012. The percentage of ninth-graders in 2009 who were dropouts in the spring term of 2012 was 3 percent. Another 2 percent were in school but below grade 11 (indicating they had been retained), and 4 percent were in a grade higher than grade 11.

Black ninth-graders had their largest gains at the three lowest levels of mathematics proficiency (level 1, algebraic expressions; level 2, multiplicative and proportional thinking; and level 3, algebraic equivalents). However, the percentage of Black students at each of these levels in 2012 was not significantly different from the percentage of White students at each level in 2009: at level 1, between 2009 and 2012 Blacks gained 13 percentage points while Whites gained 4; at level 2, Blacks gained 21 percent and Whites 14 percent.

Of those students who reported they were college bound, students and their parents rated a variety of features as “very important” to their choice of a postsecondary institution: 74 percent of students and 79 percent of parents cited academic quality or reputation. Some 68 percent of students and 73 percent of parents cited cost of attendance as an important factor.

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