published August 30, 2012

NSF-funded Workshop on the Longitudinal Study of America's Youth

This summer, NCSCE staff member Glenn Odenbrett was selected to attend a week-long workshop sponsored by the University of Michigan's Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research on the Longitudinal Study of American Youth. The workshop highlighted the huge data set available on a cohort of public school youth that has been studied by a research team headed by Dr. Jon Miller, Director of the International Center for the Advancement of Scientific Literacy at the university's Institute for Social Research. The goal of the workshop was to increase the use of the LSAY data set by those interested in informal or voluntary learning, thereby helping them understand how young adults acquire, process, and retain information about science and technology, and how these processes may produce attitudes and learning behaviors.


Since 1987, the LSAY has been following a random sample of approximately 5,000 young adults who are now 37 to 40 years of age. In addition to questionnaire responses from the study participants themselves, additional data were collected from NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) based tests and questionnaires administered to their teachers and parents.


"The LSAY is an amazing resource for understanding potential links among school-based science and mathematics learning experiences, informal science education and adult attitudes and behaviors related to current science-based issues,"" said Glenn, who is interested in exploring the relationship between the science learning experiences and curricula of participants during high school, their reported success rate in college science and math classes, and the likelihood of their pursuing STEM careers.


Recent reports available on the LSAY website focus on the current attitudes and behaviors of study participants with respect to science-based issues such as climate change, food choice, and epidemic response as well as quality of life issues such as employment and education, marriage and families, parenting, social relationships, community involvement and religion, recreation and leisure, and "digital life". In addition, LSAY data has been used in about 40 dissertations and over 200 referred journal articles over the past 20 years. Anyone interested in the kinds of data available for analysis may contact Glenn at glenn.odenbrett@ncsce.net.