The High School and Beyond survey is part of the National Education Longitudinal Studies program established by the National Center for Education Statistics. It included two cohorts: the senior class of 1980 and the sopohomore class of 1980. The two cohorts were each surveyed in 1980, 1982, 1984, and 1986; the sophomore cohort was also surveyed in 1992. The data include student questionnaires as well as information from parents, teachers' perceptions of students, high school/college transcripts, and financial aid records. The student surveys included questions about educational experiences and expectations, cognitive abilities, personal values, perceptions of self and others, extracurricular activities, and family and religious background.
The study used a two-stage probability sample. The first stage consisted of 1,015 secondary schools. In the second stage, 36 seniors and 36 sophomores from each school were selected for the survey.