University of Gothenburg

Cohort 4: Pupils born 1972

Cohort 4 is a stratified municipality and class selection where the majority of the students were born in 1972. The first collection was made in grade 3 in 1982 and consisted of knowledge tests and questionnaires.


The population this time consisted of students in 3rd grade of the spring semester of 1982. In grade three, a vocabulary test and a mathematics test were taken. A questionnaire investigated the students' self-perception, attitudes towards school, as well as questions about leisure activities. A total of 8877 or 93 percent of the students answered.

A questionnaire of 21 questions was sent to the guardians. A total of 7133 or 75 percent of the guardians responded to the questionnaire.

A follow-up was done in 6th grade with a questionnaire similar to that in 3rd grade, with further questions about study choices and career plans. Two knowledge tests were done in 6th grade, a reading test and a mathematics test. A cognitive test in three parts was also performed. A total of 8065 students responded to the questionnaire or 85 percent.

The cohort was followed up in the spring of 1989 after the end of primary school. A survey for those who have started upper secondary school and another survey for the others. A total of 6869 responded to one of the surveys or 72 percent.

For these UGU collections, there is basic information regarding year of birth, gender, migration background, educational background and socio-economic information. In addition, there are school administrative data from 3rd grade onwards regarding, among other things, school, municipality, year, grades, standard test results.

Basic information

Information collected from 3rd grade up to and including 9th grade in compulsory school.

Basic information

Register data that Statistics Sweden imposes in connection with the selection of classes. These mainly consist of:

  • year of birth
  • gender
  • migration background
  • educational background
  • socio-economic data

School administrative data

The school administrative information is obtained from 3rd grade and thereafter throughout the compulsory school period. A form is sent to the school the student attends and the school fills in information for each student included in the survey. In 3rd grade, it is mainly the classes that were included in the sample that fill in these forms, but over the years more students move, which means that the form is sent out to more and more schools which then fill in information for individual students. This is done so that the students who were included from the beginning can be followed over the years up to adulthood. This information consists of:

  • municipality
  • school
  • school grade
  • age integrated or age diverse class
  • mother tongue
  • Swedish for immigrants
  • date when moving to another school
  • new municipality
  • new school
  • grades when given
  • The standard test results in English from 8th grade and in Swedish and mathematics from 9th grade were collected in the spring semester of 1987 and 1988, respectively, see reports.

The collection in 3rd grade

In order to add to the data obtained by the UGU project, The National School Board, decided in consultation with the University and Higher Education Agency and Statistics Sweden that a new collection of data would begin in 3rd grade in the spring term of 1982. Furthermore, it was decided that the collection would take place in collaboration between Statistics Sweden and the UGU-project at the University of Gothenburg, whereby Statistics Sweden would have the main responsibility for collecting school administrative data, while the UGU-project would be responsible for the collection of other data.

A guideline for the new collection was that it should as far as possible follow the structure that the project previously had. This would make it possible to study the development within the school over a 25-year period and to relate this development to the changes that have taken place within the education system.

To reduce the administrative difficulties in the collection and get the opportunity to study whole school classes, the same sample design was chosen as applied by the UGU project.

The questionnaires were sent to the respective schools where the UGU population was located and during May and June 1982, the completed material was returned to the project. After correction and punching, the material was ready for data processing about a year later.

Knowledge test

Results of a vocabulary test containing 40 tasks, more specifically the subtest "Antonyms" from the DB A battery and a mathematics test consisting of 15 tasks taken from the areas:

  • the four arithmetic methods with whole numbers within the number range 0–10 000
  • problem solving
  • mathematical terminology

Questionnaire for students

The form for the students contained 69 questions and highlighted the following areas:

  • Students' self-perception in different school situations (questions 1–36).
  • Students’ attitudes towards activities in school (questions 37–54).
  • Students’ attitudes towards school (questions 55–64)
  • Students' leisure activities (questions 65–69)

The exact wording of the questions can be found in the questionnaire for the students in 3rd grade - UGU 1972 (pdf in Swedish).

Questionnaire to the guardians

The form sent to the guardians contained 21 questions divided into the following areas:

  • The child's upbringing conditions.
  • Ambitions and wishes regarding the child's education.
  • The parents' own educational and professional situation.
  • Views on the school's objectives.

The exact wording of the questions can be found in the questionnaire for the parents in 3rd grade - UGU 1972 (pdf 1 MB).

The collection in 6th grade

The purpose of the collection was to follow up the survey that was done on the cohort in 3rd grade. In addition, it was possible to compare the results with previous cohorts (UGU cohort 1967 and Individual Statistics project cohorts born 1948 and 1953).

A practical problem with the follow-up in 6th grade was that many classes were divided and that individual students changed class or moved since 3rd grade. Therefore, we have used different routines for information and distribution of survey material depending on how many UGU students were in the school (principal) areas. First, an information letter was sent to the principal in the principal areas where there were one or more classes with at least ten UGU students. Attached to this letter was a brief information about the project, a letter from the National Board of Education and a list of classes with UGU students within the municipality. The letter was also accompanied by an information sheet for the class teachers affected by the collection and a letter to the local Home and School Associations.

At the end of May, we started contacting schools from which we did not receive any material. These were schools in which there were classes with at least ten UGU students. There were 133 classes. The most common answer was that the class did not finish all the tests and that the material would be sent in as soon as possible. In a couple of principals' areas, the packages had not been distributed to the teachers until the end of May.

Experiences from the survey showed that some teachers wondered about or assumed that students who went to grades other than 6th grade would not be included in the survey. Regarding weakly gifted students or special school students, the teachers have acted a little differently. Some teachers only announce that the student is unable to do the examination due to a disability and return the material. Some teachers wondered if the students would participate this time because they did not participate in 3rd grade. The answer was yes, because the reason was that the teacher in 3rd grade did not complete the survey. There was thus no refusal from students or guardians.

Cognitive tests

The Cognitive tests are intelligence tests containing tasks of a verbal, inductive and spatial nature. These have been given at each collection in 6th grade and began with the evaluation in 1961. The three subtests and how they were developed are described in Svensson, A. (1964) (pdf downloadable from GUPEA, in Swedish).

  • Antonyms: To choose the opposite of a particular keyword among 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 in Swedish)

Knowledge test

Two knowledge tests were used in this collection of mathematics tests and one reading test.

  • The mathematics test consisted partly of the assignments given in 3rd grade, and partly of four newly constructed assignments.
  • The reading test was also largely identical to what was given in 3rd grade, but here the change consisted of five assignments being excluded.

Questionnaire for students

The student form contained 76 questions and covered the following areas:

  • Students' self-perception in different school situations (questions 1–33)
  • Students’ attitudes towards certain activities in school (questions 34–52)
  • Students’ attitudes towards school (questions 53–59)
  • Students' study choices and career plans (questions 60–66)
  • Students' leisure activities (questions 67–76).

The exact wording of the questions can be found in the questionnaire for the students in 6th grade UGU 1972 (pdf 1.2 MB in Swedish).

The collection in the 1st grade of upper secondary school

In the spring of 1989, one year after the end of compulsory school, a questionnaire was sent to the more than 9,000 individuals included in the sample at this time. The questionnaires were conducted in two versions, one for those who have started upper secondary school and one for the others. A total of about fifty questions were included, most of which were identical to those used in the corresponding survey five years earlier. The questionnaires were answered by just over three quarters of the survey group.

The survey was conducted from the last week of March to mid-July 1989. Each student received both questionnaires because there was no information on who had been admitted to the upper secondary school. Along with the questionnaires, there was information about the project and a response envelope addressed directly to the project. Questionnaires and other information were sent directly to the young people's home address. A total of four reminders were issued.

Coding and punching of all received forms was completed in March, the year after the survey was conducted.

Questionnaire for students

  • Youth employment September 1988 - March 1989
  • Views on and experiences of high school
  • Future plans
  • Young people's perception of their knowledge
  • Leisure activities
  • Views on and experiences of upper secondary school (only young people who have attended upper secondary school)

The exact wording of the questions can be found in the questionnaire for students in 1st grade of upper secondary school-UGU 1972 (pdf 1.5MB) / not in 1st grade of upper secondary school-UGU 1972 (pdf 4.8 MB in Swedish).

Interactive variable list

The number of variables for each cohort varies from a few hundred 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 search 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

Experience had shown that there is a need for information from the earlier ages in primary school. Therefore, the first collection was made already in 3rd grade for cohort 1972. The population consists of the students who in the academic year 1981/1982 went to 3rd grade. Already in 2nd grade a preliminary sample was drawn which was ensured in 3rd grade. The selection of students for cohort 1972 took place in the same way as for cohorts in 1967. The number of selected classes increased (about 550), as the classes and partly also the schools during the earliest school years tend to be smaller. Essentially, the same routines were followed in the collection work that had been successfully used in the previous selection.


Student questionnaire, 3rd grade, spring term 1982 (pdf in Swedish)

Student questionnaire, 6rd grade, spring term 1985 (pdf 1.2 MB in Swedish)

Student questionnaire, 1 st grade upper secondary school, spring term 1989 (pdf 1.5 MB in Swedish)

Questionnaire for young people who do not go to upper secondary school, spring term 1989 (pdf 4.8 MB in Swedish)

Parental questionnaire, 3rd grade, spring term 1982 (pdf 1 MB in Swedish)


Working memorandum

Questionnaire and tests as well as register information that has been used within the UGU collections are described for each cohort in reports and working memoranda from the departments and as technical reports or statistical announcements from Statistics Sweden (SCB).

Ugu72 - Collection of project data for 6th grade, spring 1985 (pdf 6.2 MB in Swedish)

UGU72-Collection of standard test results in English for 8th grade spring 1987 (pdf downloadable from GUPEA in Swedish)

UGU72-Collection of standard test results in Swedish and mathematics for 9th grade spring 1988 (pdf downloadable from GUPEA in Swedish)

UGU72-Collection of questionnaires one year after the end of compulsory school for the project's younger cohort in the spring of 1989 (pdf downloadable from GUPEA in Swedish)

Statistical announcements from Statistics Sweden:

Ugu72 - School data for 3rd grade through 6th grade. SMU 1986: 01 (pdf 12 MB in Swedish)

Ugu72 - Through the last years of primary school to upper secondary school, autumn 1988. SMU 1989: 01 (pdf 19 MB in Swedish)

Ugu72 - From primary school through upper secondary school 1988–1992. SMU 1994: 01 (pdf 13 MB in Swedish)