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April 1 -- The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education, invites public comment by June 1, 2021 on High School and Beyond 2022 study (HS&B:22).   
 
HS&B:22 will be the sixth in a series of longitudinal studies at the high school level conducted by NCES. The study will follow a nationally representative sample of ninth grade students from the start of high school in the fall of 2022 to the spring of 2026 when most will be in twelfth grade. A field test was conducted in fall 2019. The study sample will be freshened in 2026 to create a nationally representative sample of twelfth-grade students. A high school transcript collection and additional follow-up data collections beyond high school are also planned.
 
The study initially planned to conduct the HS&B:22 Base-Year Full-Scale study (BYFS) data collection in the fall of 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was decided to postpone this collection by two years. The base year full-scale data collection will now take place in fall 2022.  This submission requests approval to (1) freshen the school sample to account for the two-year delay after the sample was drawn; (2) add survey items related to the COVID-19 pandemic to the surveys; (3) track the field test sample; and (4) begin sampling and recruitment activities for the first follow-up field test. For the field test follow-up, students who participated in the base year field test will be tracked to inform the main study, but the field test follow-up data collection will occur one year later with a new sample of twelfth grade students.  
 
By collecting data in the fall of grade 9 and the spring of grade 12, the study data may answer questions on numerous key issues, some of which are summarized here:
1.     Transition into high school
a.    Adjustment to high school, fall 9th grade experiences, and coursework
b.    High school characteristics associated with continued achievement for high achievers or improvement for low achievers
2.    Academic growth over time and student, family, and school correlates
3.    High school experiences
a.    Student mobility patterns and their effect on outcomes
b.    Career and technical education opportunities
c.    Prevalence and use of technology
d.    Process of dropping out and student, family, and school characteristics associated with returning to school.
4.    Transition out of high school
a.    Students’ postsecondary education and/or work plans and how those plans change over time and vary by student, family, and school characteristics.
b.    Characteristics and experiences of students who plan to work, enter the military, or pursue activities other than postsecondary education.
c.    Extent of students’ knowledge and planning for postsecondary education by student, family, and school characteristics.
 
The pandemic has changed many aspects of the daily lives of students and parents alike. Most of the students who participate in HS&B:22 will have had their middle school education disrupted in some way and many families will have suffered hardships such as job loss. The least fortunate in our society have borne the greatest costs of the pandemic and these setbacks are likely to have enduring consequences. Therefore, HS&B:22 plans to add questions to the student and parent surveys about the student’s educational experiences during the pandemic. The parent survey will also include a question about hardships such as job loss and an optional open-ended question allowing the parent to provide additional information about their child’s school experiences during the pandemic. Additionally, one item is planned to be added to the school counselor survey which asks if the school provides counseling related to the coronavirus pandemic.
 
In addition to these questions, the National Eye Institute (NEI) and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), both part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), have contributed questions to HS&B:22 to be asked of students, parents, and teachers, about each sample student’s:
•    visual function and use of refractive correction (NEI questions); and
•    hearing difficulty and communication disorders (including voice, speech, and language), exposures to loud noise (a preventable cause of hearing loss), and use of assistive devices, including hearing aids, cochlear implants, and personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) to improve hearing and ameliorate communication disorders (NIDCD questions). Furthermore, NEI plans to provide the equipment, funding, and a painless, 1-2 minute protocol to capture an objective measure of the refractive characteristics of the student’s eyes.
 
Data will be collected from high school students and their parents, teachers, school counselors, and school administrators.  BYFS will be conducted with ninth-graders at the start of their high school experience in the fall of 2022 with a follow-up in grade 12 in the spring of 2026, when most of the sample students will be at the end of their high school career.   

Students will participate in the following study components:
•    The mathematics assessment will measure students’ mathematics proficiency at the start of high school.
•    The reading assessment will provide information on the reading achievement of students in grade 9.
•    The student survey is designed to provide information about the factors associated with student success. Topics such as student’s attitudes, experiences, behaviors, and interactions will be covered to understand their influence on student performance and outcomes. The student survey will be available in Spanish as well as English.
•    The hearing and vision assessments will assess hearing and communication skills as well as visual function and use of refractive correction.
 
Parents will complete a survey about the student’s home life and educational experiences. The parent survey will be available in English and Spanish. The math teachers of the students will complete a survey about their background, classroom practices, and support at the school. Math teachers will also be asked to provide information on each sampled student that they teach. A counselor at each school will complete a survey about counseling practices at the school. The administrator or principal at each school will complete a survey about policies and practices at the school.

HS&B website: https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/hsb/
HS&B:22 draft proposal, including survey instruments and technical documentation: https://www.regulations.gov/docket/ED-2021-SCC-0053
FR notice inviting public comments: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/04/01/2021-06649/agency-information-collection-activities-comment-request-high-school-and-beyond-2022-hsandb22   
 
Point of contact: Carrie Clarady, IES 202-245-6347 Carrie.Clarady@ed.gov

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