Measuring Educational Attainment in Cross-National Surveys: The Case of the European Social Survey

English title: Measuring Educational Attainment in Cross-National Surveys: The Case of the European Social Survey

Author(s): Silke L. Schneider -

Language: English

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2007

Abstract

Educational attainment is a core social background variable covered in each and every single social survey. Cross-national surveys are particularly vulnerable to sub-optimal measurement of education. In this paper, the cross-national measurement of educational attainment is evaluated using data of the European Social Survey (ESS). After discussing some theoretical background of the comparable measurement of education generally, the most commonly used comparable measures are introduced. A brief overview over previous evaluations is given. In the main part of the paper, the implementation of a simplified version of the International Standard Classification of Education 1997 (ISCED–97) in the ESS is discussed and evaluated in several ways: By looking at the consistency of the reclassification of national education variables into the comparable variable; at how the comparable variable is distributed, how much explanatory power of educational attainment is lost by harmonising the national variables (using occupational status as the criterion), and which steps of the harmonisation process affect the results most strongly in the single countries. Finally, an alternative way of simplifying ISCED–97 is proposed, which could improve the measure’s comparability and predictive power.

Conference name: ESA conference 8

Location: Glasgow

Start date: Sep 3, 2007

Type: Paper

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