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LSAY Participant Mobility While in Middle and High School
Monday, January 25, 2010
The LSAY began in the Fall of 1987 with two cohorts of students: 3,116 seventh graders and 2,829 tenth graders. The sample began with 51 high schools in 24 different states across the United States. After the high schools were chosen, 52 middle schools—that served as feeder schools to the high schools—were selected.
By the time the seventh graders (Cohort Two) graduated from high school, they attended 524 high schools in 41 states and one foreign country (see Figure 1). Most of the change in the number of schools attended took place by the end of the ninth grade.
Figure 1: LSAY, Cohort Two, Number of schools attended each year 1987 – 1993.
Because Cohort One began when the students were in the tenth grade, the students were only tracked for three in-school years. Within those three years, the students moved from the original 51 high schools to 242 schools (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: LSAY, Cohort One, Number of schools attended each year 1987 – 1990.
Three years after the study began, 85 percent of the Cohort Two students attended ninth grade schools that were within 10 miles of their original schools, putting them either within the same school district or in neighboring districts (see Figure 3). Forty percent attended schools that were within one mile of their original schools. By the twelfth grade, the distance from the original schools increased, with only 30 percent of the students attending schools within one mile of their original schools and 80 percent attending schools within 10 miles of their original schools.
The 20 percent of Cohort Two students who attended schools more than 10 miles from the original LSAY schools accounted for 65 percent of the schools attended. In other words, the great majority of participants stayed within their original school districts, but families continued to move away from the original districts throughout the secondary school period.
Figure 3: LSAY, Cohort Two, Distance between 7th grade school and 9th & 12th grade schools.
Prepared by Marian Mitchell