Documentation of Starting Cohort Grade 9 (SC4)

Version 10.0.0


Here you find information on the former versions 9.1.1, 9.1.0, 9.0.0, 7.0.0, 6.0.0, 4.0.0, 1.1.0 and 1.0.0.

Date of Release

  • 2019-04-01



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 ninth graders the first survey was carried out in fall/winter 2010. Additional surveys scheduled for spring 2011 and spring 2012 are target at students who will be dropping out of school after grade 9 or 10 but who will remain within an educational institution. In general, the plan is to follow up students within the school track in which they were sampled until they leave this school or the general school system. Data will be collected on the educational paths of students attending regular schools as well as on students attending special needs schools. 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, the conditions and prerequisites of educational processes, and possible individual consequences, such as career choice, labor market returns or simply personal satisfaction. The survey instrument includes questions about conditions, prerequisites, and benefits of education, as well as questions on support from parents, family background, school atmosphere, learning strategies, afternoon activities, vocational training, and, if applicable, also about migration history and linguistic context. The teachers' and school management questionnaires at the participating regular and special needs schools collect, for example, data on class size, composition, and school equipment but also questions about teaching in general. One further issue concerns training offered to support students at the start of their careers, such as training for job interviews.

Principal Investigator


Cordula Artelt, Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories, Bamberg (Germany)



If you publish with NEPS data, it is mandatory to quote the following reference:

Blossfeld, H.-P., Roßbach, H.-G., & von Maurice, J. (Eds.). (2011). Education as a lifelong process: The German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) [Special Issue]. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 14. (Full text)

In addition, publications using data from this release must include the following acknowledgement:

This paper uses data from the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS): Starting Cohort 4 – 9th Grade, doi:10.5157/NEPS:SC4:10.0.0. From 2008 to 2013, NEPS data were collected as part of the Framework Programme for the Promotion of Empirical Educational Research funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). As of 2014, the NEPS survey is carried out by the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi) at the University of Bamberg in cooperation with a nationwide network.


Für alle Publikationen mit NEPS-Daten ist es verpflichtend, folgende Referenz zu zitieren:

Blossfeld, H.-P., H.-G. Roßbach und J. von Maurice (Hrsg.) (2011). Education as a Lifelong Process – The German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS). Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft: Sonderheft 14. (Volltext)

Zusätzlich müssen alle Publikationen den folgenden Hinweis auf den jeweiligen Scientific-Use-File, aus dem die verwendeten NEPS-Daten stammen, enthalten:

Diese Arbeit nutzt Daten des Nationalen Bildungspanels (NEPS) Startkohorte 4 (Klasse 9), doi:10.5157/NEPS:SC4:10.0.0. Die Daten des NEPS wurden von 2008 bis 2013 als Teil des Rahmenprogramms zur Förderung der empirischen Bildungsforschung erhoben, welches vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) finanziert wurde. Seit 2014 wird NEPS vom Leibniz-Institut für Bildungsverläufe e.V. (LIfBi) an der Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg in Kooperation mit einem deutschlandweiten Netzwerk weitergeführt.



Data and documents are released for academic research. This release is uniquely identified by one DOI. All data sets of this release are available in different languages (English, German), formats (Stata, SPSS), and degrees of anynomization (download, remote access, and on-site).



Below you will find detailed additional information regarding the surveys, instruments and data from the Starting Cohort Grade 9. This documentation refers to the version 10.0.0 and will be updated successively. In case of questions, simply contact the Research Data Center.

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Data Manual (more) ZIP
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 (mehr) PDF-en
Samples, Weights, Nonresponse (more) ZIP
Report on the Edition of Spell Data (more) PDF-de PDF-en
Generated Variables on Education (more) PDF-en
Regional data (more) ZIP
Merging Matrix (more) XLX
Anonymization Procedures (more) PDF-en
Field Reports (more) ZIP
Interviewer Manuals (more) ZIP

Starting Cohort Grade 9

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 4 (Grade 9):