The Federal Statistical Office calls the Graduate Study Cooperation Project (KOAB) one of “the most prominent nationwide graduate surveys”. Around 60,000 graduates are surveyed annually, making KOAB the largest graduate research project in the German-speaking area. At the heart of the project is a network of around 80 universities, which are coordinated by the Institute for Applied Statistics (ISTAT).
In its Empfehlungen zum Verhältnis von Hochschulbildung und Arbeitsmarkt (Recommendations for the relationship between university education and the job market), the Science Council states that universities could among other things use the university- and study programme-specific results of graduate studies – such as those “provided by the Graduate Study Cooperation Project” – for the review and further development of their range of courses offered.
To allow optimal customisation towards the circumstances of the individual universities, the KOAB analysis model takes painstaking account of the structural characteristics of the study programmes, such as field of study, degree type and study format, in each university. Each participating university is also free to adapt the survey to its own individual needs, for example with regard to the corporate design or the inclusion of optional or university-specific questionnaire elements.
This individualisation is also reflected in the reporting: using the ISTAT Report Factory, individually customised reports are generated for the university and its organisational units. The relevant benchmarking values are also contained in these reports.
An SPSS data set, checked for plausibility and labelled, is provided for university staff who wish to work and calculate with the project data. In addition, a pooled data set is supplied from the second year of participation.
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The KOAB analysis model was conceptualised by internationally renowned university researchers Ulrich Teichler and Harald Schomburg. It has proven its worth for over a decade, also internationally, in comparative analysis on the relationship between university education and career.
The KOAB project data is thus used not only for university internal needs but also in the context of scientific secondary data analyses. The Federal Statistical Office has been using the data from the Graduate Study Cooperation Project since the graduating year of 2017 for the quotas regarding study programme-related overseas mobility (outgoing credit mobility) that has to be reported to Eurostat.
The nationwide graduate studies represent further secondary data analyses.
Events within the KOAB
ISTAT holds annual events for interested universities as part of the Graduate Study Cooperation Project. These include the KOAB questionnaire workshop, at which amendments to the basic questionnaires are discussed, and the KOAB annual conference, at which amendments to the basic questionnaires are adopted with a two-thirds majority of universities.