Annual Report 2011: Education and Training
Using Computerized Testing to Capture Plans and Expectations of Ninth Graders
There is a distinct correlation between parents' education levels and how their children perform in the classroom. This is just one of the eyeopening facts gleaned from the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09), which was conducted by RTI and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics.
More than 21,000 ninth-grade students nationwide were surveyed for the study using a new, computerized adaptive testing process developed by RTI to accommodate the varying equipment in different schools. At the same time, the new testing process preserved standardization of testing, which ensures the most accurate results.
The data, released in FY2011, are being used by researchers and education policymakers as baseline information at the beginning of high school for this cohort.
The 2009 data focus on students' transitions into high school, especially their decisions about courses and plans for postsecondary education and careers. The HSLS:09 study captured these decisions, plans, expectations, and activities generally but also specifically regarding math and science.
Findings show that of students whose parents hold a master's degree or higher, 44 percent were in the top quintile of math performance and 5 percent in the bottom quintile. Of students whose parents earned a high school diploma or equivalent, 15 percent were in the top quintile and 24 percent were in the bottom quintile.
RTI will conduct the first follow-up of HSLS:09 in the spring of 2012, when most of the students will be in the 11th grade. Additional rounds of data will be collected as the study follows these students through postsecondary education and into the world of work.