Authors: Tara Smith, Nicole Beck, and Greg Cumpton
Date: February 2008
Publication Type: Report, 87pp.
Abstract: As part of the Central Texas Student Futures Project, Ray Marshall Center researchers survey Central Texas seniors each spring in the semester prior to their expected graduation to gain insight into factors that cannot be examined with students’ existing high school records. In Findings from the 2007 Senior Surveys, researchers Tara Smith, Nicole Beck, and Greg Cumpton analyze responses for all 2007 seniors surveyed in eight participating school districts — Austin, Del Valle, Eanes, Leander, Manor, Pflugerville, Round Rock, and San Marcos Consolidated ISDs — regarding family background and influences, high school experiences, and preparation for life after high school. The analysis also examines statistically significant differences for particular groups of high school students of concern to policymakers, including those who would be the first in their family to attend college, Hispanic students, and low-income students.
Senior survey responses across all districts in 2007 reveal that Central Texas students are a diverse group, with future goals as varied as their backgrounds. Regardless of the differences in composition of the sample, many of the significant differences seen in 2006 survey results hold true for the Class of 2007. Across many topics including thinking about college as an option, studying for high school classes, working for pay, participating in extracurricular and college prep activities, and submitting college applications, results for 2007 seniors were very similar to those for seniors in the class of 2006. Many of the gender differences seen in 2006 were not found to be significant in the 2007 results. Additional questions about financial aid also reveal that many students, especially low-income students were unaware of the financial aid process.
While the survey findings themselves are interesting, these results will be more revealing after they are included in the statistical analysis of student outcomes upon leaving high school. The first report linking survey responses to student outcomes for 2007 seniors is targeted for release in the summer of 2008.