Decision Research - Overview of the Follow-Up Study
 
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WHY conduct follow-up studies?
Properly planned and conducted follow-up studies of high school graduates can be a source of essential information for accreditation, government accountability reports, curriculum evaluation, reports to board and parent groups, community relations activities, and for many other uses.

WHAT is the TRACE Graduate Follow-Up System?
The TRACE System combines contemporary research techniques and methods, commonly used by marketing and polling organizations, to secure accurate, reliable, multi-purpose survey data from high school graduates. The TRACE methodology avoids the issues and pitfalls that limit the quality and constructive use of follow-up data.

HOW does the TRACE System work?
A unique and proprietary stratified-random sampling model is employed to select a group of graduates for study. A questionnaire, crafted to provide meaningful and actionable information, is used to collect data—online, by mail, and by telephone. The TRACE processes and procedures, in combination with an average 85% response level, result in statistically accurate and representative data that are provided to clients in tabular, graphic, and executive summary formats. The formats are available electronically and as hard copy.

WHEN should follow-up studies be conducted?
Our research has shown that, ideally, follow-ups should be conducted during the first, (and if desired) third, and fifth year following graduation. First year studies provide essential information needed for many required reports as well as baseline data imperative for proper interpretation of subsequent longitudinal study findings.

WHO has used the TRACE system and WHERE?
Since its inception in 1974, the TRACE Graduate Follow-Up system has been used to survey more than one thousand classes from coast to coast. Our clients, 90% of whom have used our service multiple times, vary in size from small single-school districts to large multi-school districts, are located in urban, suburban, and rural settings, and have student populations that are diverse in ethnic/racial composition.

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