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National Educational Panel Study (NEPS): Starting Cohort 2 — Kindergarten (SC2)

Research Question

The aim of this study is to collect longitudinal data on a starting sample of 4-year-olds in Kindergarten. Comprehensive theory-based surveys are carried out on children (as target persons), their parents, and educators, as well as heads of the Kindergartens attended, and, later on, the class teachers and elementary school principals. These data will enable us to describe and analyze educational processes, educational trajectories, and the development of competencies.

Key research questions:

  • competence development and educational trajectories in this age group,
  • the learning environments of Kindergarten, elementary school, and family, as well as learning opportunities in nonformal and informal settings,
  • the transition from Kindergarten to elementary school and the associated educational decisions,
  • the extent and the importance of social and ethnic disparities in Kindergarten and elementary school, and
  • early returns to education.

Test Language


Test Period

Panel entry fall 2010; at least one survey per year

Test Area


Target Persons

4-year-olds in Kindergarten reaching school age in 2012 at panel start 2010/11

Context Persons

Parents and Kindergarten teachers of the children, the heads of Kindergarten facilities, the class teachers of the children, and all principals of the selected schools

Population / Sample

4-year-olds in Kindergarten reaching school age in 2012

Test and survey are conducted in a nationwide representative sample of day-care facilities. All 4-year-old children reaching school age in 2012 from the selected day-care facilities are invited to participate. Day-care facilities were defined in accordance with the Federal and State Statistical Offices in relation to the operating license (§ 45 SGB VIII) and the size of the facility (at least 10 places available, from which at least five must be occupied). In order to be able to accompany the 4-year-old children later in the school context as well, we used an indirect sample drawing. This indirect sample drawing is based on a nationwide representative sample at elementary schools. Schools with a Grade 1 level were drawn by means of a size-proportional random selection providing, at the same time, the basis for the main survey in 2012 in Grade 1. Because these elementary schools are to connect the early child survey with the school surveys in the National Educational Panel Study, all day-care facilities from which children would transfer to the schools featured in this sample were previously identified. From these facilities, the participating day-care facilities were determined by random sampling. Questionnaires and tests will be administered in these facilities. All 4-year-old children from the selected day-care facilities are invited to participate. This procedure ensures that a high number of 4-year-olds in Kindergarten is also included in the sample of first graders in 2012.

Sample Size

n= cica 3,000. This information refers to the first wave of the panel.

Survey Procedure and Instruments

Competence tests for children, written questionnaires for educators and heads (PAPI), and computer-assisted telephone interview of parents (CATI)

Link to the Detailed Description of the Study

Persistent Identifier


Data Accessible via Research Data Centre

To the Study Documentation at the Research Data Center LIfBi:

Information about the user conditions can be found here:


Dr. Daniel Fuß
Operational Manager
Phone: +49 951 / 863 - 35 11
Email: fdz[at]


The aim is to establish a diverse community of data users with different backgrounds, rather than a restricted group of experienced analysts. All researchers interested in working with the data must be accommodated to ensure not only equal research opportunities but also high-quality analyses. The training courses introduce the research design of the NEPS, the structure of data sets, terms and conditions of data usage, issues of privacy and data protection, and so on.
Day 1: obligatory for first time participants (basic program)
Day 2: for interested data users (optional)

More information and the current program is available here:

Related Data

National Educational Panel Study (NEPS): Starting Cohort 1—Early Childhood (SC1)
National Educational Panel Study (NEPS): Starting Cohort 3—Grade 5 (SC3)
National Educational Panel Study (NEPS): Starting Cohort 4—Grade 9 (SC4)
National Educational Panel Study (NEPS): Starting Cohort 5—First-Year Students (SC5)
National Educational Panel Study (NEPS): Starting Cohort 6—Adults (SC6)

Additional studies:
National Educational Panel Study (NEPS): G8 Reform Study in Baden-Wuerttemberg (BW)
National Educational Panel Study (NEPS): Organizational Reform Study in Thuringia (TH)

Research Area(s)