Education, Training & Cognitive Tests: An Introduction

Education, Training & Cognitive Tests: An Introduction

The NLSY79 contains detailed information on respondents' educational and training histories. The survey also contains multiple cognitive tests from respondents' earlier years.


Data on respondents' educational activities, attitudes, and status are obtained in questions on schooling.  These grade-appropriate questions ask about the respondent's educational experience prior to high school, in high school, and in college.  The school and transcript surveys gathered data about the schools in the NLSY79 sample areas and the academic records of NLSY79 respondents. Finally, the 1980 survey included several questions on school discipline problems, including whether respondents had ever been suspended or expelled from school, and if so, the number of times, date of most recent disciplinary action, and when/if the youth had returned to school.


Information has been collected during all survey years on the type of organization providing the training in which NLSY79 respondents participated. In addition to regularly fielded general training questions, special data collections focused on government training administered in the early years of the NLSY79, high school courses, degrees and certifications, and time use provide supplementary information on NLSY79 respondents' training investments. In later years, the study collects dates of training, hours, and includes a number of additional questions such as skill transferability of training, and information on informal training.

Cognitive Tests

The NLSY79 collected information about a variety of standardized achievement tests commonly taken by young adults in junior high school and high school. The Transcript Survey is a 1980-83 collection of high school transcript information, which included the gathering of math and verbal scores from such tests as the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT), the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), and the American College Test (ACT). The High School Survey is a 1980 survey of high schools, which used school records to collect scores from various aptitude/intelligence tests and college entrance examinations administered during the youth's high school career. Finally, during the summer and fall of 1980, NLSY79 respondents participated in an effort of the U.S. Departments of Defense and Military Services to update the norms of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).