Life Course Data and the Longitudinal Classification of Educational Attainment

Skopek, Jan and Manuel Munz


In this chapter, we present a longitudinal approach to the classification of education as applied to data from Starting Cohort 6 of the NEPS. Arguing that educational achievement is a time-dependent process involving the timing and sequence of transitions in an educational state, we examine the following two questions: 1) How can inter- and intra-individual variations of educational achievement be analytically described and compared? and 2) How can longitudinal data on educational careers be adequately measured and coded in analytically meaningful ways? We present CASMIN and ISCED-97 as helpful coding frames to capture educational achievement. Referring to life-course data from NEPS Starting Cohort 6, we present a longitudinal assignment scheme of educational attainment that we implemented in a generated transition data file called Education, which accompanies the Scientific Use File. Education provides upward transitions in ISCED and CASMIN for respondents in an easy-to-manage event-time format. Using the file, researchers can easily reconstruct the educational level measured in standard classifications for each respondent at each point in the recorded lifetime. Finally, we demonstrate the power of Education through two simple exemplary analyses.

In: Blossfeld, H.-P., von Maurice, J., Bayer, M., and Skopek, J. (eds, forthcoming), Methodological Issues of Longitudinal Surveys: The Example of the National Educational Panel Study, Wiesbaden: Springer.

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