4 nlts2 data sources parent and youth surveys
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4. NLTS2 Data Sources: Parent and Youth Surveys. Prerequisites. Recommended modules to complete before viewing this module 1. Introduction to the NLTS2 Training Modules 2. NLTS2 Study Overview 3. NLTS2 Study Design and Sampling. Overview. Parent/youth survey overview

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4. NLTS2 Data Sources: Parent and Youth Surveys

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4. NLTS2 Data Sources: Parent andYouth Surveys


  • Recommended modules to complete before viewing this module

    • 1. Introduction to the NLTS2 Training Modules

    • 2. NLTS2 Study Overview

    • 3. NLTS2 Study Design and Sampling


  • Parent/youth survey overview

  • Parent/youth interview

  • CATI skip logic in interviewing

  • Parent/youth mail survey

  • Example skip logic for parent/youth mail survey

  • Closing

  • Important information

Parent/youth survey overview

  • Telephone interviews (CATI)

    • 45-60 minute interviews

  • Supplemental mail survey

    • With fewer items for parent/guardian

    • With same items for youth

  • Incentives given to parent and youth who complete an interview or mail survey

    • $20 for parent interview

    • $15 for parent mail survey

    • $20 for youth interview or mail survey


Performance, engagement, abilities, school completion, postsecondary attendance

Youth employment


Follow rules, volunteerism


Physical health


Parent/youth survey overview

  • Youth characteristics

    • Demographics, disabilities,abilities

  • Household characteristics

    • Composition, SES

  • Nonschool factors

    • Group activities, educational supports, expectations

  • Family involvement

    • School-family contact, IEPprocess

  • Personal/social

    • Friendships, social skills, overall adjustment

Parent/youth interviews

  • Parent/guardians interviewed in Waves 1 to 5.

  • Youth interviewed in Waves 2 to 5.

  • Interview was lengthy but questions were asked conditionally to reduce respondent burden.

    • A guided interview administered by telephone.

  • Interviews used Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI).

    • With CATI, logical conditions can be applied to sections of the interview, individual questions, and response categories within a question.

Parent/youth interviews

  • Many questionnaires have skip logic

    • That is, a structure embedded in the questionnaire through which the next question asked a given respondent is conditioned by answers to a previous question.

  • Paper questionnaires typically have relatively simple skip logic for respondents to follow.

    • Example: “Are you employed?”→ IF YES, GO TO QUESTION 14.

  • CATI skip logic can be more complex.

    • A respondent does not need to understand and follow the logic, it is programmed in advance.

Parent/youth interviews

  • CATI is a programmed questionnaire system with automated logic for telephone interviews.

  • CATI logic conditions how the questions are asked using data provided to the system in advance (preload data) or the respondent’s answers to questions in the interview.

    • Example: If the preload data indicate that the youth has graduated in a prior wave, a question such as “Do you expect [youth’s name] to graduate from high school?” is skipped.

    • Example: If the respondent indicated a youth is not employed, a question about hours worked is skipped.

Parent/youth interviews

  • Benefits

    • Reduces respondent burden.

    • Avoids asking questions that

      • Do not apply to the respondent.

      • Replicate information collected elsewhere.

    • Can customize question phrasing.

    • Speeds interviewing; only the appropriate questions appear on interviewers’ computer screens.

Parent/youth interviews

  • Data from a CATI interview can bevery complex.

    • Respondents and interviewers experience just a small part of the interview.

    • The data, however, contain every possibility, every branch to every dark and dusty corner of the questionnaire.

Parent/youth interviews

  • Skips can be triggered by a predetermined value to a preload item, a specific response or responses to a question, or a logical checkpoint that uses any combination of responses and/or preloaded values.

    • Skip Instructions are not read aloud to the respondent.

  • Individual questions in CATI instruments can be easy to understand; the skip implications are not.

    • Any question may be skipped by one or more logic statements preceding it.

    • It can be difficult to determine which respondents are included in the data for a given question just by looking at the questionnaire.

CATI skip logic in interviewing

  • Multiple checkpoints can be hard to read and decipher

CATI skip logic in interviewing

  • Just reading the question may not provide enough information to understand skips.

  • When you read a skip instruction, it might appear to be simple to understand who is being asked the subsequent question.

  • It may even appear to be simple to understand a group of questions, but it quickly becomes a lot to keep thinking about.

CATI skip logic in interviewing

  • Question I2a and subsequent instruction skips a respondent to I6a if responses are no, don’t know, or refused to I2a and to either I1a or I1c.

CATI skip logic in interviewing

  • Question I2b has multiple instructions; it seems clear that when the youth worked determines whether the next question is asked.

    • I2c is asked if I2a is yes and I2b is “1” or “3”.

    • Skip I2c and ask I2d if I2a is yes and I2b is “2”.

  • If the response was either don’t know or refused the respondent would skip to the next series of questions.

    • Skip to I3a if I2a is yes and I2b is “-7” or “-8”.

CATI skip logic in interviewing

  • There could multiple skips before item I2b.

    • A checkpoint before question I1a skipseveryone who has not been in school in the past 12 months to question I7.

CATI skip logic in interviewing

  • And…

    • Looking at the “I2” series was not enough

    • The skip instruction after question I2a referenced responses to I1a and I1c.

    • Who is skipped to I6b?

      • Answer: respondents who answered no, don’t know or refused to I2a and yes to both I1a and I1c

Skip logic in interviewing

  • Skip logic can be confusing and hard to track while reading the questions.

  • Referring just to the CATI instrumentis not sufficient.

    • Understanding the skip logic and implications to the data is important.

  • Help is on the way: data dictionaries.

    • Skip logic for each CATI question is displayed in the form of who is asked an interview question.

Parent/youth mail survey

  • Mail surveys to parent/guardians and youth

    • Scannable booklets sent by mail to respondents in lieu of participating in an interview

    • Separate booklets and separate mailings for youth and for parent/guardians

    • Which respondents received a mail survey

      • Youth whose parents requested that youth be mailed a questionnaire rather than participate in an interview

      • Respondents who had only a mailing address and no phone

      • Respondents who did not complete an interview

Parent/youth mail survey

  • Parent/guardian mail survey questionnaire contained a general subset of the interview questions.

    • Asked key items such as youth’s secondary school status, school leaving, postsecondary attendance, receipt of services, and employment

    • Referred to as the “Family Survey” in the documentation

  • Youth mail survey questionnaire contained same items as interview.

Youth mail survey

  • Youth mail survey questionnaire booklet was customized when current information was available.

    • Parent/guardian usually was surveyed first.

    • Sections were printed based on parent/guardian responses

      • For example, if the parent indicated youth had been employed and had attended a 2-year college, youth received a section about employment and a section about 2-year college.

    • Youth booklet contained all sections when there were no parent/guardian responses.

      • Youth were instructed to skip sections that did not apply.

Examples: Youth mail survey itemsand skip

Examples: Youth mail survey items

Examples: Family survey itemsand skip


  • Topics discussed in this module

    • Parent/youth survey overview

    • Parent/youth interview

    • CATI skip logic in interviewing

    • Parent/youth mail survey

    • Example skip logic for parent/youth mail survey

  • Next module:

    • 5.NLTS2 Data Sources: School Surveys, Student Assessments, and Transcripts


    • 6. Implications for Analysis: Data Content

Important information

  • NLTS2 website contains reports, data tables, andother project-related information http://nlts2.org/

  • Information about obtaining the NLTS2 database and documentation can be found on the NCES website http://nces.ed.gov/statprog/rudman/

  • General information about restricted data licenses can be found on the NCES websitehttp://nces.ed.gov/statprog/instruct.asp

  • E-mail address: [email protected]

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