Document Type

Research Report

Original Publication Date


Date of Submission

December 2016


Increasing demand for accountability have prompted a renewed interest in determining effective methods of obtaining data from high school graduates and former students. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the methods and objectives of high school graduate/former student follow-up activities to identify procedures that resulted in high response rates and helpful information.

Information was obtained from three sources: local school systems in the Richmond metropolitan area, selected school systems in other areas of Virginia, and school systems in other states as identified through a search of the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) database.

The purposes of the follow-up activities continue to center on determining post-secondary efforts and employment status; however, studies developed to obtain baseline data and to measure strategic plan objectives were also found.

Although traditional mail surveys remain prevalent, innovative approaches involving focus groups and telephone response surveys were identified. Mail surveys that included a telephone interview component achieved highest response rates. Time of year, home school personalization of the survey request, amount of elapsed time between graduation, and administration of the survey, were other factors that appeared to contribute to response rates.

Recommendations are developed based on the need for planning, the determination of purpose, and the consideration of alternative methodologies.

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