NLSY79 Appendix 8: Highest Grade Completed & Enrollment Status Variable Creation

NLSY79 Appendix 8: Highest Grade Completed & Enrollment Status Variable Creation


Data releases since 2018 have included a created variable depicting the Highest Grade Ever Completed (HGC_EVER), found in the KEY VARIABLES area of interest. This XRND variable incorporates information through the respondent's most recent interview and will be updated each round. The program that created this variable is accessible through a link at the end of this appendix.

The Highest Grade Completed variables for individual survey years are still available from 1979-2016. The series of programming statements used to create the Highest Grade Completed variables from 1990-2016 and Enrollment Status as of May 1st Survey Year from 1990-2006 are also accessible through a link at the end of this appendix. These programs created the original version of these variables. A review conducted in 1993-1994, resulted in the survey year variables Highest Grade Completed (Revised) (HGCREV) and Enrollment Status as of May 1 Survey Year (Revised) (ENROLLMTREV). While the programs accessible in this appendix created the original variables, the individual revisions are not included in the programs.

The general sources of error addressed in the survey year revised versions of the variables (HGCREV and ENROLLMTREV) are:

  • grade "reversals," in which a respondent completed a lower grade in a later year, rather than staying in the same grade or advancing: The programs accessible through this appendix do not account the individual corrections that were made for these cases, the largest source of which have been respondents enrolled in college;
  • respondents with incomplete or ambiguous school information, preventing the computation in a given year of an HGCREV or ENROLLMTREV variable (a problem which can then continue through subsequent years, even if the respondent reported attending school in later survey years).

Decision rules for adjustments reflected in the revised variables include:

  • Cases with grade reversals were coded as the highest grade completed previously reported by the respondent;
  • A minimum HGCREV code of 12 was assigned to cases in which no high school diploma or GED had been received, but some college attendance was reported;
  • An HGCREV code of 16 was assigned to cases in which a four-year degree had obviously been earned in 5 or more years;
  • Cases in which the highest grade completed was reported as "ungraded" were assigned the previous highest grade completed reported by the respondent;
  • HGCREV values were evaluated in comparison to the May 1st of survey year date where possible and corrected if necessary;
  • Cases in which the longitudinal record is highly erratic and HGCREV could not be computed or revised reliably were assigned a code of "-3" (invalid missing)

Program Statements

Programs that create the XRND variable HGC_EVER and the survey year HGCREV and ENROLLMTREV variables can be accessed by clicking here.