1136.0 - Directory of Education and Training Statistics, 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/07/2007   
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Contents >> Statistical Collections >> Education and Training - General >> Longitudinal Survey of Australian Youth (LSAY)

08/07/2008: This page was amended to further correct contact details and survey scope. Historical data has also been clarified.

17/04/2008: This page was amended to correct errors in the new contact details for current information, and in the provenance of the survey program prior to 2007.

Longitudinal Survey of Australian Youth


Project Administrator
LSAY Branch
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
Website http://www.ncver.edu.au/
Email: lsay@ncver.edu.au


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 jointly by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research and the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).

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.


The project is currently following four cohorts of young people:
  • a group who were in Year 9 in 1995;
  • a group who were in Year 9 in 1998;
  • a group who turned 15 years of age in 2003, and participated in the 2003 PISA study; and
  • a group who turned 15 years of age in 2006, and participated in the 2006 PISA study.

In addition, LSAY incorporates data from the '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.


Release Schedule

Data is provided to the Australian Social Science Data Archive (ASSDA) annually. Research reports, technical papers and other materials are produced regularly each year.


Various publications, including research reports and technical papers, are available from the NCVER website.


Information is available for Australia, states and territories, and metropolitan/rural, except for Year 9 achievement scores which are available for Australia only. For some data, other geographical levels may be available, depending on confidentiality.

Data Service

LSAY data are deposited with ASSDA at the Australian National University. The data are deposited 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, http://assda.anu.edu.au/.

Customised tables are available from NCVER at 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, are 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; and
  • Attitudes and aspirations.

Historical Data

Survey participants (collectively known as a 'cohort') enter the study when they begin Year 9 or, as is the case more recently, when they turn 15 years of age. They are contacted once a year for 10 years. Studies began in 1995 (Y95 cohort), 1998 (Y98 cohort), 2003 (Y03 cohort) and more recently in 2006 (Y06 cohort). Over 10 000 students start out in each cohort.

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