Transcript Coding

In order to provide high quality, accurate, and consistent coding, AHAA used the Classification of Secondary School Curriculum (CSSC) to code the courses appearing on student transcripts, as well as all courses offered at Add Health schools and eligible non-Add Health schools. For every course on a student’s high school transcripts, CSSC codes indicate the general subject, such as English or Math, as well as the more detailed subject, such as English I Honors or Algebra II. This taxonomy or coding scheme, which has been refined and standardized over the years, was used for High School and Beyond (HS&B), the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS), and all of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) High School Transcripts Studies (HSTS) conducted in the last decade and a half (Ingels, Dowd, Taylor, Bartot, Frankel, and Pulliam 1995; Legum, Caldwell, Davis, and Haynes 1997). The AHAA coding procedures were developed to ensure particular compatibility with data produced for the 1987, 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2000 NAEP HSTS, HS&B and NELS, making AHAA comparable to these other landmark education data sets.

Several important distinctions of the AHAA are worth noting. First, any coursework taken at an Add Health high school was identified as having been taken at that school, even if a student later transferred to another high school. This step allows analysts to place students in their respective Add Health schools prior to transferring and minimizes the amount of missing data reported for school-specific information. Second, in contrast to the previous high school transcripts studies which simply demanded students’ transcripts from schools without explicit student permission, the AHAA study received respondents’ permissions, which may have made the collection of these transcripts more successful. Third, similar to NELS and HS&B and in contrast to the NAEP HSTS, the AHAA collected transcripts for students who did and did not complete a high school degree.