• Report

High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS: 09)


Ingels, S., Dalton, B., Holder, T., Lauff, E., & Burns, L. J. (2011). High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS: 09). (National Center for Education Statistics). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.


On June 28, the National Center for Education Statistics will release High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09): A First Look at Fall 2009 Ninth-Graders.

This report features initial findings from the base year of a new longitudinal study that started with a nationally representative cohort of ninth-graders in the fall of 2009 and will follow these students through postsecondary education and the world of work. The base year data focus on students’ transitions into high school, especially their decisions about courses and plans for postsecondary education and careers. The HSLS:09 study captures these decisions, plans, expectations, and activities generally but also specifically in math and science.

Findings include the news that half of America’s ninth-graders are taking algebra 1 (51%) and 22% are taking geometry. About 86% of ninth-graders are proficient in understanding algebraic expressions based on their HSLS:09 math assessment scores, but just 18% are proficient at understanding systems of equations and 9% are proficient at understanding linear functions, both of which are more advanced topics within algebra. Of students whose parents hold a master’s degree or higher, 44% are in the top quintile of math performance and 5% in the bottom quintile. Of students whose parents have earned a high school diploma or equivalent, 24% are in the bottom quintile of performance on the assessment and 15% are in the top quintile.

At this age, about 22% of students did not report any educational expectations, while 39% report expecting to earn a graduate or professional degree. More female ninth-graders than male ninth-graders expect to obtain a graduate or professional degree (44% versus 35%). More socioeconomically advantaged ninth-graders expect to earn a graduate or professional degree than their peers in the lowest socioeconomic stratum (56% versus 27%). Over half – 53% of Asian students and 52% of Black students – report that they definitely can complete college, compared to 40% of Hispanic students and 49% of white students who report the same confidence.