Mature Women Education Variables

Data on the educational status and attainment of respondents were collected at select survey points as part of the broader collection of information on respondents' training investments. An overview of education-specific variables both for the respondent and for family members not residing in her household is presented below by topic. Information about the educational status and attainment of family members residing in the respondent's household is also available; see the Household Composition section for more information.

Educational Attainment

  1. Highest Grade Completed. Highest grade completed variables are available for the entire cohort in several years. In 1967, a 'Highest Grade Completed' variable (R00790.00) was created from a series of questions eliciting information on the highest grade of regular school the respondent had attended, whether that grade had been completed, and whether additional coursework in which the respondent had been enrolled after full-time school ended had resulted in a diploma. In the 1977 (R03815.00) and 1989 (R09897.00) surveys, respondents directly reported their attainment level. In each survey since 1979, all respondents reporting school enrollment since the last interview have been asked to state the highest grade they have completed. These variables are "update" variables and are available for less than the full universe of respondents. For the 1979-92 surveys, researchers needing data on educational attainment for a more complete universe of respondents than those to whom the update questions are administered should locate the last summary variable available and use the update information to supplement that variable. Beginning in 1995, a created variable, 'Highest Grade Completed, xx (Revised),' provides the highest grade completed for all interviewed respondents.
  2. High School Enrollment and Date of Diploma. The 1977 survey elicited information about high school enrollment dates and the date the high school diploma was received. The 1981 survey asked respondents whether they had ever attended high school, if they had received a high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED), which type of diploma they had received, and when.
  3. College Enrollment and College Degree. The 1977 survey asked whether respondents had ever attended college. For those reporting college enrollment, information was collected on the highest degree ever received and the date the degree was received. Each subsequent survey except 1992 asked whether the respondent attended college since the last interview. Respondents reporting college enrollment stated the number of weeks and hours per week in attendance, whether a college degree was received, and the type of degree received. The 1986 questionnaire also included two questions on educational expenses incurred by the respondent or her husband in the past 12 months.

High School and College Curricula

  1. High School. Respondents have provided retrospective information about their high school curricula during three interviews. The 1967 survey collected information on the type of vocational or commercial curriculum taken in high school. In 1972, the survey asked respondents how well they had done in their English courses in high school. Finally, the 1981 survey included a series of questions on whether the respondent had been enrolled in high school mathematics courses, the type of course (e.g., algebra, geometry, trigonometry), the length of time the course lasted, and how well the respondent had done in these courses.
  2. College. Information about major field of study in college was gathered at numerous survey points. The 1977 survey asked all respondents who had ever been enrolled in college about their field of study. This information was updated in each subsequent survey except 1992 for all respondents reporting college enrollment since their last interview.

Location of Schools

The only location information available for this cohort is a 1971 variable providing the state of the last high school attended.

Related Variables: The 1977 survey obtained enrollment information and highest grade attended/completed for all natural and adopted children of the respondent as well as any additional children of her husband's from another relationship. In addition, information on the highest grade attended/completed of the respondent's four eldest living children was collected during the 1986 survey. The 1982, 1984, and 1987-97 interviews asked the respondent if any of her children had attended college in the past 12 months. All of these interviews except 1984 followed up by asking how much she and her husband had contributed toward college expenses each year.

Survey Instruments & Documentation: The variables described above can be found in the "Education and Training" sections of the 1967, 1977, and 1982-2003 questionnaires and the "Education Expenses" section of the 1986 instrument. The question on the location of the high school is located in the "Family Background" section of the 1971 questionnaire. The 1977 series of questions about the children is located in the "Marital History, Fertility & Other Family Background" section of the questionnaire. Appendices of the Codebook Supplement present the fields of study classification systems and Census division/state codes.