Classification of educational qualifications

The database of educational qualifications links every single qualification to several standard classification codes. We offer the following classifications:

  • The International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED):
  • An alternative ISCED code for both ISCED 2011 (field "Alternative ISCED2011") and sometimes 1997 (field "Alternative ISCED1997") was developed by the CAMCES Team at GESIS. The difference compared to the official codes are that firstly, we developed valid codes for undocumented educational qualifications (9000 in official ISCED). Secondly, when we had reason to doubt the official ISCED code, e.g. after consultations with country experts, we determined an alternative, unofficial code. The alternative ISCED codes are intended to improve cross-national comparability compared with official ISCED. Most of the codes will however be identical to the official ISCED code.
  • The education coding scheme used in the European Social Survey (ESS) since 2010 (further information) (field "edulvlb" in the database). It is close to but somewhat richer than the ‘alternative ISCED’. The educational qualifications database contains ‘edulvlb’ codes for all countries that have participated in the ESS since 2010 as well as some other countries.

Further readings:

Braun, M., & Müller, W. (1997). Measurement of education in comparative research. Comparative Social Research, 16, 163–201.

Ortmanns, V. and Schneider, S. L. (2016) Can we assess survey representativeness of cross-national surveys using the education variable? Survey Research Methods, 10(3), pp. 189–210. doi:

Ortmanns, V. and Schneider, S. L. (2016) Harmonization still failing? Inconsistency of education variables in cross-national public opinion surveys. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 28(4), pp. 562–582. doi:

Schneider, S. L. (Ed.). (2008). The International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED-97). An evaluation of content and criterion validity for 15 European countries. Mannheim: MZES. Download  chapters

Schneider, S. L. (2013). The International Standard Classification of Education 2011. In G. E. Birkelund (Ed.), Class and Stratification Analysis (Comparative Social Research, Volume 30) (Vol. 30, pp. 365–379). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing.