Survey Variable: Education Level

Figure 1. See also Table A1.

The education level variable indicates the highest educational qualifications obtained by respondents. Weights are applied in Figure 1, which shows that the largest group is respondents with first degrees (21.1%), followed by those with A Levels or equivalent (15.2%) and those with GCSEs or equivalent (12.9%). Together, these groups constitute almost half (49.2%) of all respondents. As noted with reference to survey representativeness, when compared to the 2011 census the sample overrepresents those with higher level qualifications (A-level and above) and concomitantly underrepresents those with lower level (GCSE or below) or no formal qualifications.

There are also small percentages of respondents who said that they don’t know (0.8%) or prefer not to say (1.8%) what their highest educational qualifications are. It is necessary to recode these answers as missing values (since we cannot know what educational qualifications these respondents hold), and doing so reduces the coverage of the variable from the full 1,405 cases to 1,374. At the same time as coding the missing values, it is helpful to simplify the variable into fewer categories, and the recoded version is graphed in Figure 2 (weights applied). Note that nursing and teaching qualifications have been grouped with ‘technical or professional’ qualifications in the recoded variable, though we cannot be certain of the nature of the qualifications included in the latter category. Details of the original and recoded variables can be found below Figure 2.

Figure 2. See also Table A2.
Variable nameback_educleve
Number of cases1,405
Number of categories20
Categories to code as missing‘Don’t know’ and ‘Prefer not to say’
Cases to code as missing31
Recoded variable nameback_educleve_rmv
Number of cases1,374
Number of categories7
New and old categories‘No formal qualifications’ = ‘No formal’

‘Below GCSE’ = ‘Youth training certificate’
+ ‘Trade apprenticeship’ + ‘Clerical and commercial’
+ ‘City & Guilds’ + ‘City & Guilds advanced’
+ ‘ONC’ + ‘CSE grades 2-5’

‘GCSE or equivalent’ = ‘CSE grade 1, O Level,
GCSE’ + ‘Scottish Ordinary / Lower’

‘A Level or equivalent’ = ‘A Level / Higher’
+ ‘Scottish Higher’

‘Non-degree prof quals’ = ‘Nursing qualification’
+ ‘Teaching qualification’ + ‘Technical or professional’

‘Degree’ = ‘University first degree’

‘Higher degree’ = ‘University higher degree’

Missing = ‘Don’t know’ + ‘Prefer not to say’
Details of the original and recoded education level variables.

Published by joegreenwoodhau

Joe Greenwood-Hau is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Government & Public Policy at the University of Strathclyde, where he works on the Capital, Privilege and Political Participation in Britain and Beyond project.

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