University of Gothenburg

Cohort 1: Pupils born 1948

The first ETF collection took place in the spring of 1961 and it was an individual selection of children born on the 5th, 15th and 25th of each month in 1948. Pupils were then both in the primary school and the pilot school (comprehensive primary school). In addition to certain aptitude tests, the test booklet also contained questions concerning school motivation, interests and plans for the future.


The first time a collection of data took place was during the spring semester of 1961 and included students born on the 5th, 15th and 25th of each month in 1948, i.e. about one tenth of the year group. According to calculations, when the collection was carried out, there were a total of 12,166 individuals in Sweden who were born on these days, the majority of whom were in year 6 in the compulsory school system - about 2/3 in the primary school and 1/3 in the pilot school (comprehensive primary school).

In the spring of 1961, preparatory conferences were held regarding individual statistics between Statistics Sweden, the National Board of Education, representatives of the Swedish National Council for Social Research and representatives of various teacher and parent organizations. The participants in these conferences decided to attach a letter of recommendation signed by the relevant organizations to the information letter about individual statistics that would be sent to all relevant school principals. This letter was sent in early April 1961.

In mid-April 1961, Statistics Sweden sent a request to all principals in the school system that they provide information on the number of pupils born on the 5th, 15th or 25th of each month in 1948 who were in the principal's area. Requests were sent to 1,263 school management districts and responses were received from 1,253. In the remaining 10, the number of children was estimated.

In May, the Department of Education in Gothenburg sent out the materials that would be used for testing the students. This material, called the test booklet, contained, in addition to some aptitude tests, questions about school motivation, interests and plans for the future. The test booklet would also state the results of the standard tests for the students who had completed these during the academic year. A total of 12,650 test booklets were sent out, of which 12,290 were sent to primary school students and 360 to students in secondary schools and girls' schools. The tests took place during the period 8th-27th May 1961. The Department of Education received 10,670 completed test booklets.

In July 1961, Statistics Sweden sent out a form to the schools regarding the students who were included in the sample. The form contained two parts, one with questions about the type of school, end-of-year grades, etc. and a second part with questions about certain so-called socio-economic background data. The form was filled in by the school staff. It can be assumed that the schools usually contacted parents and students to obtain information about occupation / education and social security number. The data collection lasted until September. A total of 11,974 forms were received. The fact that Statistics Sweden received more forms than the number of test booklets submitted is due to Statistics Sweden being able to collect the requested information for a longer period of time, while the tests could only be carried out for a short period of time.

Planning, implementation and results from the collection can be found in Testningar för komplettering av skolstatistikens individualuppgifter (pdf downloadable from GUPEA in Swedish) and in Sammanfattning av SCB PM 1976:8 (pdf 10 MB in Swedish).


Data at the 1961 collection

Cognitive tests

The Cognitive tests are of an intelligence test type containing tasks of a verbal, inductive and spatial nature. These have been given at each collection in year 6 and began with the evaluation in 1961. The three subtests and how they were developed are described in Svensson, A. (1964).  

  • Antonyms: To choose the opposite of a particular keyword from four options.
  • Sheet metal folding: To work out which of the four figures you get, if you fold a pictured “sheet metal piece”.
  • Number series: To continue a number-series, where six numbers are given, with two more numbers.

More about the cognitive tests can be read in: Relative achievement : school performance in relation to intelligence, sex and home environment (pdf downloadable from GUPEA).

Questionnaire for students

The form for students contains about 70 questions. These are divided into four parts. The first inquiries are about the students' Leisure and the second their Plans. The last two parts are the basis for the formation of scales.

In the section Activities, there are six areas of interest, each of which forms a scale: Outdoor-focused, Verbal, Technical, Domestic, Social and Office-focused.

The School section contains 30 questions which have been scored with 1 for a positive answer and 0 for a negative one. Subsequently, the intercorrelation between the questions has formed five separate scales:

  1. The contact between children and parents: questions 2, 3, 5, 9, 14, 24, 27 and 30.
  2. The family's attitude towards higher education: questions 6, 8, 12, 15, 18 and 21.
  3. Pupil's anxiety in school situations: questions 4, 7, 10, 16 and 28.
  4. The student's interest in school work: questions 1, 13, 19, 22 and 25.
  5. Student's peer contacts: 17, 20, 23, 26 and 29.

Question 11 is not included in any of the scales.

The collection was carried out by the Department of Education at the University of Gothenburg. The exact wording of the questions can be found in questionnaire to the pupils (pdf 1,7 MB in Swedish). Further description of the structure of the scales can be read about in Testningar för komplettering av skolstatistikens individualuppgifter (pdf downloadable from GUPEA in Swedish).

Other data collected

Basic information & school administrative information

Other information has been obtained from year 3 up to and including year 9 in compulsory school.

The socio-economic background information obtained through Statistics Sweden's form has, together with the information collected by the Department of Education in Gothenburg, been treated as a unit called background information. This information has only been collected once as a background for the later follow-up of students' schooling. The part of Statistics Sweden's form that contained information about the pupil's schooling in the academic year 1960/61 (school form, year, grades, etc.) constitutes the first so-called annual statement.

  • Information about schooling, e.g. type of school, class type, class structure, class character, year grade, and grades.
  • Information about certain personal circumstances, such as place of residence, parents' occupation and education, number of siblings, distance between home and school, distance between home and nearest upper secondary school, etc.
  • Results from standardized knowledge tests in the subjects reading, writing, mathematics and English, which were offered to all students in year 6.

The first two types of data were collected by Statistics Sweden and are available for 98 percent (11,950) of all individuals born on the selection days. Information on standard test results is available for fewer individuals (9298), but still means that results are available for almost 90 per cent of those who have passed the tests, i.e. those who were in year 6.

As long as the survey group or parts of the group were in the public school system, annual data were collected by Statistics Sweden at the end of each spring term. These data are of the same nature as those under point 1 above and the collection lasted until the academic year 1968/69. However, due to the fact that students gradually left school (some students went to 7- or 8-year primary school) and due to difficulties in tracking students in certain school forms, the number of students with annual data decreases relatively quickly, as shown in the table.

More information about the collection of basic information and school administrative information can be read in Individualstatistiken - Skoldata för ett urval elever födda 1948 och 1953 (pdf 15 MB in Swedish).


Statistics Sweden's annual collections

At the initial data collection in 1961, information was received for the first school year concerning the students' schooling. This information includes social security number, name, domicile, school form, grades, etc. After the first data collection in 1961, Statistics Sweden has annually collected corresponding information on each pupil's continued schooling. The academic year data that Statistics Sweden has collected during the processing have been called annual items. An annual item thus consists of the information on type of school, year grade, grades, etc. that has been collected for a specific academic year. The collection took place by Statistics Sweden sending a form with the student's name and social security number and the name of the receiving school to the school from which the information was obtained the previous year. The schools were asked to fill in the form and then return it to Statistics Sweden. If the pupil left the school during the school year, the school was asked to write down which school the pupil had moved to, so that Statistics Sweden could instead send the form to the pupil's new school.

The collection method only worked in part, because the schools, when the pupil moved, could not always state which school the pupil had moved to. The schools have had a particularly difficult time specifying the new school in the transition from primary school to secondary school / girls' school and to upper secondary school types. Even during study breaks for, for example, gainful employment, it has been difficult to obtain information about any later schooling. For each year, therefore, the number of students whose possible continued schooling was unknown increased.

In the missive that accompanied the forms for those born in 1948, up to and including the academic year 1964/65, vocational school and the voluntary upper secondary classes in primary and lower secondary school were not mentioned among the types of school for which Statistics Sweden was interested in obtaining information on continued schooling. This has meant that many principals have not reported whether a student has transferred to any of these types of school.

When collecting information for those born in 1948, an attempt was made in 1965/66 to supplement Statistics Sweden's information on who remained in school. Statistics Sweden appealed to the principals who received forms from Statistics Sweden, to provide, with the help of the schools' student registers, information for all students born on the 5th, 15th or 25th of each month in 1948, regardless of whether Statistics Sweden sent out forms for these students or not. The principals were asked to also send in information about previous schooling for these students when this was known. There is no information on the exact number of students found in this way. According to one source, the number of printed forms in 1965/66 was about 3,400, which indicates that Statistics Sweden for the academic year 1964/65 had information that this number of students remained in school. The current register contains 4,788 study year data for 1964/65, which can be interpreted as meaning that this supplement resulted in at least 1,400 students being found. These students were found primarily in vocational schools, technical colleges and high schools.

Interactive variable list

The number of variables for each cohort varies from a few hundred up to a couple of thousand. Some variables are present in all cohorts, others are only found in some. Some variables enable longitudinal studies, others only cross-sectional studies. ETF has developed an interactive list of variables to make it easier to find among the variables and see relationships between variables in different cohorts.

The variables are accessed through the links below. Questions about documentation are answered via e-mail to data controllers within ETF.

Selection principles

For the first two cohorts (born in 1948 and 1953), with collection in the years 1961 and 1966, the selection was made according to plan of all students born on the 5th, 15th or 25th of each month in 1948 and 1953 respectively would be included in the material. The students were normally in year 6 in primary school or comprehensive primary school.