The Longitudinal Study of American Youth (LSAY) is a project that was funded by the National Science Foundation in 1985 and was designed to examine the development of: (1) student attitudes toward and achievement in science, (2) student attitudes toward and achievement in mathematics, and (3) student interest in and plans for a career in science, mathematics, or engineering, during middle school, high school, and the first four years post-high school. The relative influence parents, home, teachers, school, peers, media, and selected informal learning experiences had on these developmental patterns was considered as well.
Beginning in the fall of 1987, the LSAY collected a wide array of information including: (1) a science achievement test and a mathematics achievement test each fall, (2) an attitudinal and experience questionnaire at the beginning and end of each school year, (3) reports about education and experience from all science and math teachers in each school, (4) reports on classroom practice by each science and math teacher serving a LSAY student, (5) an annual 25-minute telephone interview with one parent of each student, and (6) extensive school-level information from the principal of each study school.
The sampling scheme for the base year of the LSAY was a two-stage stratified probability sample. The United States was stratified by four geographic regions and by three levels of urban development (central city, suburban, and nonmetropolitan) to produce a total of 12 strata. Stage I involved the selection of schools to participate in the study. Stage II was the random selection of 60 students within each school selected in Stage I. Resumption of LSAY tracking activities began in April, 2006 and re-entry questionnaires were administered in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.