Documentation of Starting Cohort Grade 5 (SC3)

Version 12.0.0


Here you find information on the former versions 11.0.1, 11.0.0, 10.0.0, 9.0.0, 8.0.1, 8.0.0, 7.0.0, 6.0.1, 6.0.0, 5.0.0, 4.0.0, 3.1.0, 3.0.0, 2.0.0 and 1.0.0.

Date of Release

  • 2022-11-28



The lower secondary level plays a connecting role between elementary school and the general or vocational upper secondary level (or directly entering the job market). Nevertheless, important questions could not be clearly and conclusively answered yet because of the lack of appropriate data. This pertains, for example, to the type of school chosen, to switches to another type of school, or to the grade repetition but also to the central issue of paths through lower secondary level and the transition into upper secondary level.

In this study of the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS), representatively selected students who attend regular or special needs schools and are willing to participate are questioned and tested in annual waves of studies. For students of the starting cohort of fifth graders, the first survey was carried out in fall/winter 2010, the second survey in winter 2011/12. It is generally intended to sample students in regular and in special needs schools and to follow them up within those originally selected institutions until they leave school or the general school system altogether. After leaving school, these students will be further questioned and tested individually outside the educational institution. The testing and questioning of individuals requiring special education is a challenge because only rudimentary experiences with such measures have been made so far. In addition to the questioning and testing of students, the questioning of context persons such as parents, teachers, and school headmasters is planned. Competence tests cover several domains: language (spelling, reading, and listening comprehension in German, knowledge of first language and English in students with migration background), mathematics, sciences, and metacompetencies (ICT competence and cognitive problem-solving ability).

The central questions of this study include the development of students’ competencies, conditions, and prerequisites of education processes, as well as possible personal consequences for the success and for the future course of education and the integration of students into social networks. The teaching staff and headmaster questionnaires in the participating schools address, for example, data on class size, the composition of the student body, and the school equipment but also questions about lessons in general.

Principal Investigator








Below you will find detailed additional information regarding the surveys, instruments and data from the Starting Cohort 3, Grade 5. This documentation refers to the version 12.0.0. In case of questions, simply contact the Research Data Center.

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Data Manual (more) PDF-en
Release Notes (more) TXT-en
Study Overview (more) PDF-de PDF-en
Survey Instruments (more) ZIP
Information on Competence Tests (more) ZIP
Semantic Data Structure File (more) ZIP
Codebook (more) PDF-de PDF-en
Glossary (more) PDF-en
Samples, Weights, Nonresponse (more) ZIP
Generated Variables on Education (more) PDF-en
Regional data (more) ZIP
Merging Matrix (more) XLX
Anonymization Procedures (more) PDF-en
Tools to Reflect Filtering in PAPI Data Sets (more) ZIP
Field Reports (more) ZIP
Interviewer Manuals (more) ZIP

Starting Cohort 5th Grade

Access the Data

The download of NEPS data presupposes a valid Data Use Agreement. Eligible applicants are all individuals in possession of a university degree employed by a scientific institution. Data access is free of charge.

(external) Data Access Request Forms

Registered data users can download the NEPS Scientific Use Files by logging in to the website with their personal nu-number and password.

(external) Data Download Center

More Information

In addition to the overview on this site, we offer further information about the data from Starting Cohort 3 (Grade 5):