NEA 7: YEAR 12/CERTIFICATE II (OR ABOVE) ATTAINMENT, 20-24 years
Like all three indicators in the National Education Agreement that are sourced from SEW, NEA 7 (Year 12/Certificate II, 20-24 years) is based on a small sub-population of young people determined by age. Furthermore, the indicator in most states and territories is slow moving in a generally steady upward trend, reflecting the relatively long period already over which Australian youth have had good access to and high levels of participation in education and training, both at school and in tertiary settings. Single-year data are not sufficiently precise to detect annual change at the national or state/territory level over a one or two-year period. Nor does doubling the sample through data pooling lead to detection of change over a two-year period. Single-year data, however, were sufficiently precise to detect growth at the national level and for NSW over the three years 2007 to 2010.
NATIONAL AND STATE/TERRITORY DATA
Based on standard single-year estimates, the proportion of the 20 to 24 year old population having attained at least a Year 12 or equivalent, or AQF Certificate Level II or above, rose from 83.5% in 2007 to 85.6% in 2010 (Datacube Table 1a).
At the national level, the RSEs for NEA 7 were low and estimates reliable. The RSEs of the proportions in the single-year data ranged from 0.7% in 2007 to 1.0% in 2009 (Datacube Table 1a). The RSE was highest in 2009 because the SEW sample was reduced in 2009 before being reinstated in 2010. For the 2010 reference point, the RSEs for the two-year pooled data at 0.6%and four-year pooled data at 0.5% were only marginally lower than their equivalent in the one-year data of 0.8% (Table D below). Although the national level RSEs for NEA 7 were small, irrespective of data pooling, this is a slow moving indicator making it difficult to measure change. Using single-year data, no statistically significant change was detected at the national level between 2008 and 2009, 2009 and 2010 or the combined period 2008 to 2010. Pooled data did not detect change between 2008 and 2010.
When the single-year data for NEA 7 was examined for the bigger states, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, RSEs ranged between 1.2% and 2.9% in 2010. Among the smaller jurisdictions, the RSE was lower in the ACT (2.6%) where attainment was high (89.5%) than in Tasmania or the NT where levels of attainment were relatively low. Data pooling over two and, particularly, four years led to lower RSEs. In Tasmania, the RSE using four-year pooled data was 2.4% compared with 5.2% for single year data. For the NT, the gain was more modest, 4.4% for four-year compared with 4.8% for single-year data (Table D below).
Despite improvements in precision, two-year data pooling did not lead to better detection of change in the indicator over time for the states and territories. The failure of both the single-year and pooled data at the national level to identify any significant change was broadly repeated at the state and territory level. The single-year data, over one year 2009 to 2010 and over two years 2008 to 2010 found no significant change in the six states and two territories, while the two-year pooled data over two years (2008 to 2010) found only one - a rise in attainment in NSW (Datacube Table 2c).
When change in NEA 7 was assessed using standard single-year estimates over the three-year period, 2007 to 2010, there were statistically significant rises in Year 12/Certificate II or above attainment for 20-24 year olds at the national level and for NSW only. No change was detectable in the other jurisdictions. Although there was a 3.6 percentage point difference in the ACT, from 93.1% in 2007 to 89.5%, this apparent fall was not statistically significant (based on Datacube Tables 1a, 2a, 3a, 4a, 5a, 6a, 7a, 8a, 9a).
TABLE D. YEAR 12/CERTIFICATE II, 20-24 years, single-year and pooled data, by state/territory, 2010 (NEA 7)
RSE of %
RSE of %
RSE of %
At the national level, the RSEs for individual SEIFA quintiles based on single-year data ranged from below 1% for the higher quintiles to over 3% for the low quintiles reflecting the smaller proportion of people with Year 12 or equivalent attainment living in areas characterised by low socioeconomic status [1
. Higher RSEs in low quintiles were reflected in greater fluctuation in the estimates and proportions. Again, the lower RSEs in the pooled data did not lead to better detection of change. For individual quintiles, the only apparently significant findings of change were for Quintile 3 and Quintile 5 for 2009 to 2010 using single year data (Datacube Table 1c). Given the large magnitude of these changes in contrast to the small change at the national level overall and the fall in attainment recorded in Quintile 5 (the least socioeconomically disadvantaged category), these may be random results due to sampling variability.
While there were some statistically significant changes in NEA 7 by quintile at the state/territory level over the two-year period 2008 to 2010, these were few in number and, given the small sample base, may be due to sampling variability rather than actual change.
See section on significance testing
for further explanation of sampling variability and measures of change.
 SEIFA Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage. For further information on this and other SEIFA Indexes, see Information Paper: An Introduction to Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), 2006
(cat. no. 2039.0) (back to text