The Assessment of the Achievement of Basic Educational Competences (henceforward ÜGK)1 is a regular monitoring survey designed to assess and analyse competences at the primary and lower secondary level in Switzerland. The assessment surveys are tailored to national educational standards as defined by the HarmoS Agreement (
The focus of the ÜGK 2016 survey is on mathematical competences at the end of lower secondary education, i.e., at the end of the 11th year of compulsory schooling.2 In addition, it also includes a context questionnaire designed to capture student, family and context characteristics relevant to both the acquisition of mathematical competence and students’ postcompulsory educational pathways. The latter is important as ÜGK 2016 – being part of the national education monitoring system – also serves as the baseline survey for a national panel study on transitions to postcompulsory education, work and adult life ('Transition from Education to Employment [TREE]' survey, see ). The student questionnaire is geared to maximising the analytical potential for both objectives.
Given the twofold objective of the ÜGK 2016 questionnaire, a modular design was implemented, with one questionnaire module focusing on characteristics relevant to the acquisition of mathematical competence and a second module tailored to capturing important starting conditions of postcompulsory educational transitions. To limit the time required to take the survey, students alternately received one of two questionnaire versions, each comprising a common core questionnaire with instruments of general interest and a module focussing on one of the two objectives mentioned above (see section 1 for details).
Both modules include numerous item-based scales designed to measure latent (i.e., not directly observable) respondent or context characteristics (see Hascher et al. [2015] for the instrumentation of the maths module and Hupka-Brunner et al. [2015] for the rationales behind the education-monitoring module). The core questionnaire and the overall questionnaire design were jointly specified by both research teams. Instrument selection was almost exclusively confined to instruments validated by previous research in the relevant research fields.
This documentation of scales is intended for data analysts who plan to use the scales included in the ÜGK 2016 questionnaire. For each of these scales, the scientific use file pertaining to ÜGK 2016 includes estimates (i.e., scores) of the individual scale values for all participating students.3 In this documentation, we describe the procedures and statistical models used to calculate these student scores..

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