LONGITUDINAL SURVEY OF AUSTRALIAN YOUTH
National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)
PO Box 8288 Station Arcade SA 5000
Level 11, 33 King William St, Adelaide
Telephone 1800 825 233
Facsimile (08) 8212 3436
The Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) are a program of longitudinal surveys which provide information on the transitions of young people between education, training and work. The LSAY research program is managed by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). The provision of analytical and reporting services is the current responsibility of the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), in collaboration with the Australian National University's Social Policy Evaluation, Analysis and Research Centre (SPEAR).
Annual surveys provide information on what young Australians are doing and how they manage the many transitions they make after school. By incorporating data from older longitudinal studies within the LSAY program, it is possible to compare the current cohorts' pathways and outcomes to older cohorts' when they were the same age. More detailed investigations look at the links between social characteristics, education and training, and employment. Issues investigated in the LSAY project include school achievement and school completion, participation in vocational and higher education, gaining and maintaining employment, and household and family formation.
The current program of LSAY work commenced in 1995. It follows two earlier programs of longitudinal studies in Australia: 'Youth in Transition' conducted by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER); and the 'Australian Youth Survey' (and its predecessor the Australian Longitudinal Survey) conducted by a predecessor department to DEEWR.
Each cohort is a representative sample. Currently there are four cohorts of young people in the study:
- a group who were in Year 9 in 1995 (Y95 cohort)
- a group who were in Year 9 in 1998 (Y98 cohort)
- a group who turned 15 years of age in 2003, and participated in the 2003 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study (Y03 cohort)
- a group who turned 15 years of age in 2006, and participated in the 2006 PISA study (Y06 cohort)
In addition, LSAY incorporates data from the earlier 'Youth in Transition' and 'Australian Youth Survey' cohorts, and an extensive program of analysis and reporting based on data from all cohorts.
Frequency of Collection
The survey is longitudinal. Survey respondents are contacted annually.
Method of collection
The first cohort in the LSAY program comprised a nationally representative sample of over 13,000 Year 9 students. Reading and numeracy tests were administered to the students in their schools to provide information on school achievement for use in later analyses of educational and labour market participation. Students also completed a background questionnaire about their educational and vocational plans and attitudes to school. In 1996, these students provided information in response to a mailed questionnaire. Information was also obtained from their schools about the curriculum and school organisation. In 1997, this cohort was contacted in the first of the annual telephone surveys.
A second Year 9 cohort comprising more than 14,000 students was selected in 1998. Telephone interviewing of this cohort began in 2000. Beginning in 2003, a single questionnaire is being used for the telephone interviews with both the 1995 and the 1998 Year 9 cohorts.
A third LSAY cohort began in 2003. This cohort was selected from school students who participated in OECD PISA 2003. These 15 year olds undertook tests in reading, mathematical, scientific literacy and problem solving, and completed questionnaires about their background and plans for the future. They were also interviewed by telephone to provide additional information.
Data are provided annually to the Australian Social Science Data Archive (ASSDA) at the Australian National University. Research reports, technical papers and other materials are produced regularly each year.
Various publications, including research reports and technical papers, are available from the LSAY website.
Information is available for Australia, states and territories, and metropolitan/rural - except for Year 9 achievement scores which are available for Australia only. Other geographical levels for some data may be available, depending on confidentiality.
Data are available in a form that does not permit the identification of individual sample members or participating schools. The data can be purchased from ASSDA in Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) format for a nominal charge. Further information is available from the ASSDA website.
Customised tables are available from NCVER on request (fee applies).
Over time the LSAY data collections from each cohort build up a range of data items on the social and educational backgrounds of young people, their participation in various forms of education, training and work, and their attitudes to education, work and life more generally. Not all of these data are collected each year, and the data collection changes somewhat in coverage as cohorts gradually get older, although there is a common core of data items. The longitudinal nature of the LSAY data collections means that new surveys are closely linked to, comparable with, and build on, the previous surveys.
The common areas covered each year are as follows:
- Educational experiences (program, institution, type of enrolment, performance)
- Labour market experiences (employment, type of job, occupation, industry, earnings, job training, job history, job search activity)
- Non-work and education activities
- Health, living arrangements and financial support
- Attitudes and aspirations.
There are many reports available since the first results of the Y98 cohort. See the LSAY website for more details.