NCDS Age 11 Sweep

Sweep details

Dates 1969
Age 11
Achieved sample 15,337 (cohort members)
Respondents Cohort members, parents, teachers, medical examination
Survey mode Face to face
Data access

Main dataset available via the UK Data Service [SN 5565]. Visit the UK Data Service website to access the data.


The age 11 sweep took place in 1969 and aimed to continue measuring the educational, social and physical development of the cohort.

Over 200 new participants, who had been born overseas in the same week, joined the study after moving to Great Britain.

Health visitors visited the homes of cohort members and conducted interviews with parents (mothers in most cases). Information was collected about household composition, housing, parental occupation, cohort member health, parental health, schooling and parental aspirations for their children’s future.

Cohort members completed a paper questionnaire about leisure activities and attitudes towards school. They were also each asked to write an essay about the lives they imagined themselves leading at 25.

The age 11 sweep involved a number of cognitive assessments:

  • General Ability Test – containing verbal and non-verbal items.
  • Reading Comprehension Test – constructed by the National Foundation for Educational Research in England and Wales (NFER) specifically for use in this study.
  • Arithmetic/Mathematics Test – again constructed by NFER, especially for use in this study.

Information was collected from cohort members’ schools about type of school, class sizes, approaches to discipline, attendance, behaviour and ability.

The sweep also included a medical examination where height, weight, vision, vision, hearing, speech, and motor coordination were measured and any other medical issues noted.

Special features at age 11

Imagine you are 25.

As part of the age 11 sweep, cohort members were asked to write an essay about what they thought their life would be like at age 25.

The instructions given were as follows: ‘Imagine you are now 25 years old. Write about the life you are leading, your interests, your home life and your work at the age of 25. (You have 30 minutes to do this).’

More than 13,000 essays were completed. Approximately 10,000 of these have recently been digitally transcribed and are now available to the wider research community from the UK Data Service.

A quantitative data file indicating the themes discussed in the essays (e.g. occupation, money, friends, domestic labour) is also available.

The essays provide a fascinating insight into how 11-year-olds in 1969 imagined their futures. With their consent, we have published a small number of these essays on our website, alongside cohort members’ present-day reflections.


  • User guides
  • Questionnaires
  • Technical reports
  • Data notes
  • Additional
User guides

NCDS Age 11- Guide to the Dataset

Date published: 01/05/1969
PDF: 9,81 MB


Bristol Social Adjustment Guide Forms at ages 7 and 11 – User Guide

This document has been prepared to accompany the deposit with the UK Data Service at the University of Essex, of all available completed Bristol Social Adjustment Guide forms collected in sweeps 1 and 2 of the National Child Development Study when cohort members were seven years old in 1965 and eleven years old in 1969.

Date published: 03/03/2022
PDF: 342,11 KB


Handling missing data in the National Child Development Study – User Guide

This user guide aims to describe and illustrate a straightforward approach to missing data handling, while detailing some more general considerations around missing data along the way.

Date published: 12/07/2021
PDF: 657,33 KB


NCDS 2006 Re-deposit User Guide

User guide to accompany the redeposit of data up to age 46

Date published: 01/11/2006
PDF: 87,19 KB


NCDS Age 7-16 Measures of Ability

This document draws together information available on the key measures of ability that were gathered from members of the National Child Development Study (NCDS) during the three surveys carried out during the school years of the birth cohort.

Date published: 01/12/2012
PDF: 355,53 KB


NCDS Age 7-11 Bristol Social Adjustment Guides

This document draws together information available on the Bristol Social Adjustment Guides (BSAG) – key measures of behaviour that were gathered for members of the National Child Development Study.

Date published: 01/01/2013
PDF: 1,18 MB


NCDS revised region variables

Date published: 01/03/2012
PDF: 523,56 KB


NCDS Age 11 Annotated Questionnaire Documentation

Annotated version of NCDS age 11 questionnaires

Date published: 01/05/1969
PDF: 2,45 MB


NCDS Age 11 Questionnaire Documentation and Codebook

NCDS Age 11 questionnaire and codebook

Date published: 01/05/1969
PDF: 9,81 MB

Technical reports

No material of this type is available.

Data notes

NCDS Age 7-11 Notes on the Bristol Social Adjustment Guide

The BSAG was used in sweeps 1 and 2 of NCDS

Date published: 01/05/2000
PDF: 42,29 KB


Deriving highest qualification in NCDS and BCS70

This Data Note explains the derivation of variables on Highest Educational Qualification obtained by cohort members in the National Child Development Study (NCDS) and the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70).

Date published: 01/01/2011
PDF: 514,11 KB


NCDS Birth-Age 50 Target and Achieved Samples

Table of target and actual sweep samples for NCDS up to age 50

Date published: 01/05/2008
PDF: 21,84 KB


NCDS Age 11 Coding Frame

Seperate coding frame for age 11 sweep of NCDS

Date published: 01/05/1969
PDF: 6,58 MB


NCDS Ethical Review and Consent

Review of the ethical practices throughout NCDS

Date published: 02/06/2014
PDF: 1,76 MB

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Centre for Longitudinal Studies
UCL Social Research Institute

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London WC1H 0AL


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