University of Gothenburg

Cohort 5: Pupils born 1977

Cohort 5 is a stratified municipality and class selection where the majority of the students were born in 1977. The first collection was made in 3rd grade in 1987 and consisted of knowledge tests and questionnaires. The sample is about half as large as other UGU cohorts.


The purpose of the comprehensive data surveys is to enable both longitudinal and cross-sectional surveys of large and representative student selections. The survey population consists of the pupils who attended 3rd grade of compulsory school during spring term 1987. By definition the population is delimited with regard to grade affiliation, which means that it includes students with different years of birth. The majority, or just over 96 per cent, were born in 1977. The follow-up survey of this current sample began in the spring of 1987. At that time, a knowledge test and a questionnaire were given to the students. At the same time, school administrative information was collected in grades 3 to 9.

The total number of students in the sample in the spring of 1987 amounted to 5035 students. Due to the refusal to participate, the sample size was reduced by 616 individuals or by 12 percent. Later, two more students left the study. The final selection thus amounts to 4,417 students. The relatively large refusal rate should probably primarily be explained by the fact that at the relevant time there was a lively debate in the mass media about the justification of personal registers. Analyses carried out, however, have shown that the loss did not in any significant respects damage the representativeness of the sample.

The number of respondents in the 1987 survey was 4194 or 95 percent of the sample.

The next survey was conducted in the spring of 1990, when the majority of the students were in 6th grade. A total of 4370 students was reached by a questionnaire. The number of students who responded was 4022 or 91 percent of the sample. In that survey, cognitive tests and questionnaires were given to the students and in addition, a questionnaire was sent home to the guardians. The guardians' questionnaire was answered by 3368 or 76 percent of the parents.

The next survey was conducted in 1996 when most students were in 3rd grade of upper secondary school. A total of 4293 students received the survey and 3199 answered it. A response rate of 75 percent.

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 1992 and 1993, respectively. This information is available for approximately 4,000 students, see reports.

The collection in 3rd grade

In order to add to the data in the UGU-project the collection followed the system set up for cohort 1972. Results from the data collection are described in the report: Collection of student data in 3rd grade in the spring of 1987 (pdf downloadable from GUPEA).

Conduct of the survey

With regard to the information to be collected directly from the participants, it must be taken into account that the students are only 10 years old when they submit the information, which sets certain limits regarding the content and wording of the questions. The information was collected during lesson time, which means that the time for answering must be relatively short, so that the regular school work does not suffer. Instruments used would be of the same or similar type as the UGU project, thereby facilitating the possibilities for comparisons.

After considering the mentioned restrictions, we decided that the information obtained directly from the students would consist of:

  • A detailed survey of experiences and experiences in school, interest in studies and activities during leisure time.
  • A reliable measure of both linguistic and mathematical ability.

The questionnaires with return envelopes and teacher instructions were sent out at the turn of the month March-April, about one week before the specified data collection period. The last reminder, which took place in mid-May, consisted of a letter to all participating class teachers. In this we thanked teachers and students for their participation and at the same time we asked the teachers who have not yet sent in the questionnaires to do this as soon as possible.

As the student forms came in from the schools, the classes were checked off in a special list of the participating classes. For each class, the number of forms answered was checked against the number of students on the class list. In connection with this, the number of respondents, the number of "refusers" and the number of students who did not answer the form for other reasons (illness, and so on) were also noted. The check also involved a selection of such students, who had recently joined the class and who were therefore not included in the original student list.

Some guardians had declined participation so late that the student was not deleted from the class list. It was therefore particularly important to check that there were no answered forms from students who should not participate in the survey. In a few cases, such forms appeared. These were destroyed immediately without the form being taken out of the reply envelope.

None of us are therefore aware of these students' answers.

When the data collection was completed, the correction and coding work began. The correction of the two tests, antonyms and arithmetic tests, was performed by staff, and was done on the basis of the same templates that had previously been used within the UGU project, and then the results were recorded on the front of the student form. In addition to the proofreading, the student form itself does not require coding work.

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

These samples are identical to those used in grade 3 in the spring of 1982, cohort 1972.

Questionnaire for students

The form for students contains 59 questions and highlights the following areas:

  • Students' self-perception in different school situations (questions 1–33).
  • Students’ attitudes towards certain activities in school (questions 34–45).
  • Students’ leisure activities (questions 46–50).
  • Students' attitudes towards school (questions 51–59).

The exact wording of the questions can be found in the questionnaire for the students (pdf).

The collection in 6th grade

The purpose of the report below is to report on the collection of data from the fifth sample in the spring of 1990, when the majority of the students reached 6th grade. In total, there are 4370 students.

Implementation and results from the data collection are described in the report Collection of student data in 6th grade spring 1990 (pdf).

Conduct of the survey

The implementation of a survey of this type presupposes both appropriate permits and the active participation of many people and organizations. Before the follow-up survey started in the spring of 1987, the teachers' trade unions, the Swedish Home and School Association, the Student Organization in Sweden and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities, all of which gave their support to the survey, were therefore informed. Furthermore, an application was sent to the school boards in the municipalities concerned for permission to carry out the student examinations during lesson time. All 29 municipalities surveyed were positive about the survey and in connection with the permits being granted, a contact person was also appointed at each school board. Before the new data collection was started, a letter was sent in January 1990 to all contact persons, in which the forthcoming survey was described. Attached to the letter was a copy of the information letter sent out when the follow-up survey began, which provides a general description of the survey's purpose and structure. Furthermore, a list was attached of the classes within the municipality that would be included in the spring of 1990 and how many students were affected in each class.

Due to the fact that many classes were divided and that individual students changed class or moved since 3rd grade, the students were spread over significantly more classes in 1990 than in 1987. At that time, the number of classes was almost 300. In the spring of 1990, the number had more than doubled. Some students had also moved to somewhere other than the original 29 municipalities. Another problem was that the most recently available information about the students' class affiliation - which was obtained from Statistics Sweden's register - was from the end of the academic year 1988/89, when they were mostly in 5th grade. It was the then current class designation that was stated for the contact person and which later formed the basis for the distribution of the student forms. However, we expected that with the help of class affiliation in 5th grade, it would be relatively easy to identify the correct class in 6th grade, which also turned out to be the case.

The survey material was sent out at the beginning of March. At the turn of the month, April-May, most of the forms had been returned to the department. The schools that did not submit any material at that time were contacted by telephone during the first week of May. At the end of this month, some schools from which forms were still missing received another telephone reminder.

At the end of February, the forms were sent to the guardians. They were sent directly to the residential addresses, which we received from Statistics Sweden. Each form was accompanied by a stamped reply envelope and a cover letter. By mid-April, just over half of the guardian surveys had been returned. A reminder letter was sent to the guardians who had not responded at the time, as well as a new copy of the questionnaire and an answer envelope. At the end of May, the response rate was around 70 percent. At the end of May, an additional reminder letter (Appendix 14) was sent to the remaining 30 percent with the attached form and reply envelope. This reminder also seems to have had an effect, because by the end of June, the response rate had increased by a further 7 percentage points.

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).

Knowledge test

Results on a math test. The test is identical to that given in 6th grade in the spring of 1985, cohort 1972.

Questionnaire for students

The form for students contains 44 questions.

  • Twenty-one questions (1–21) on self-perception
  • Seven questions (1–7 second part) concerning studies and career plans
  • Ten questions (1–10 third part) concerning hobbies
  • Four questions (11–14 third part) that deal with attitudes to homework, tests and other school work
  • Two open-ended questions (15 and 16) give students the opportunity to describe what is most positive and negative about the school

The exact wording of the questions can be found in the questionnaire for the students (pdf).

Questionnaire to the guardians

The form sent to the parents contains 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 (pdf in Swedish).

Under the heading reports, there is detailed information about the collections.

Collection in 3rd grade of upper secondary school

The collection takes place during the last year of high school. The students are followed even after they have left primary school. Among other things, data collections are made during the time they are in upper secondary school. School administrative information such as choice of upper secondary school track, grades after completing education and questionnaire data collected from the students.

Three years after compulsory school, a questionnaire was sent to the students in the spring of 1996, when the majority were in 3rd grade of upper secondary school. The majority of those included in this survey belong to the first cohort who complete upper secondary school based on programs instead of lines which was different forms of upper secondary school education tracks.

A total of 4293 students received the survey and 3199 answered it. A response rate of 75 percent.

About 500 students left comments in connection with the collection, most of which were positive. Relatively common were:

  • What a good thing that someone really cares about what happens in high school
  • It is very important that such surveys are conducted
  • Finally, someone who is interested in what the students think
  • 'Feel free to send more surveys

Results from the data collection are described in the work report:

Collection of questionnaires for the UGU project's fifth cohort in the spring of 1996 (pdf downloadable from GUPEA in Swedish).

Conduct of the survey

The survey was conducted as a postal survey with three reminders. The questionnaires were registered via Optical mark recognition, the material was checked and anomalous answers were corrected. A data file with the questionnaire responses was sent to the University of Gothenburg.

A general idea of ​​how the participants answered questions can be obtained by reviewing Appendix 1 in the work report "Collection of questionnaire data for the UGU project's fifth cohort in the spring of 1996". The response rates are marked for each question.

Questionnaire for students

The design of the questionnaire was discussed in detail with the members of the project reference group. The main points made can be summarized in two points:

  • the included questions should provide opportunities for comparisons with previous cohorts
  • the survey should provide comprehensive information about the new upper secondary school

In the survey design, both aspects were taken into account. The questionnaire used in the spring of 1996 consisted of 27 questions.

  • views on the education received in compulsory school after a couple of years
  • which upper secondary education has been chosen and which factors have guided this choice
  • any study interruptions and the reasons for these
  • well-being in high school
  • views on upper secondary education
  • perceptions of one's own ability in various subjects
  • scope of gainful employment in addition to the studies
  • how much time was spent on different hobbies
  • plans for future education and profession

The exact wording of the questions can be found in the questionnaire for the students (pdf 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

The population in this survey consists of the students who in the spring term of 1987 were in 3rd grade of primary school. Due to limited resources, the size of the sample was reduced to half for this cohort, that is a five percent sample. Sweden's municipalities were then divided into 13 strata. From each of these, two municipalities were selected. In addition, the three metropolitan municipalities were included. Furthermore, a preliminary determination was made of how many classes would participate in each municipality. The sampling work was carried out by Statistics Sweden and an account of this work can be found in a report from the Department of Education, see under the heading Reports.

The population therefore had to be all students in 3rd grade in the spring term of 1987, from which a two-step selection was made. First, a stratified sample of municipalities was drawn, after which a number of classes were sampled. All students in these classes then participated. Due to financial reasons, however, the sample had to be made smaller than in previous follow-up surveys.

In August 1986, work began on determining the selection. Sweden's municipalities were then divided into the 13 strata constructed by the UGU project. From each of these, two municipalities were selected. In addition, the three metropolitan municipalities were included. Furthermore, a preliminary determination was made of how many classes would participate in each municipality. The school boards in the selected municipalities were contacted at the end of October. A letter described the purpose and structure of the survey and how many classes in each municipality would be affected by the survey. Furthermore, information was requested regarding the municipality's opportunity to participate and - if so - that the school board should appoint a contact person, with whom the continued planning could be discussed. In January 1987, the school boards in all 29 municipalities had announced that they were in favor of the survey. At this time, Statistics Sweden also had a complete register of all classes in compulsory school for the academic year 1986/87. Based on this register, the final selection of classes was made - in August it had been possible to determine the approximate number of classes that would participate from each municipality, but only now could the exact number and which classes would be included be determined.