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

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


The series of programming statements contained in this appendix were used in the standard computations for the created Highest Grade Completed (HGC) from 1990-2016 and Enrollment Status as of May 1st Survey Year variables from 1990-2006.

In addition to the standard created variables, revised versions of the HGC and Enrollment Status variables (1979-2016 survey years and 1979-2006 survey years, respectively) are present in the NLSY79 public release data. The general sources of error addressed in the revised versions 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 included below did not account 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 a HGC or Enrollment Status 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 HGC 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 HGC 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;
  • HGC values were evaluated in comparison to the May 1st of survey year date and corrected if necessary;
  • Cases in which the longitudinal record is highly erratic and HGC could not be computed or revised reliably were assigned a code of "-3" (invalid missing)

Program Statements

To access the programs, click here.