Australian Bureau of Statistics
1291.0 - A Guide to Major ABS Classifications, 1998
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/09/1998
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The ABS Classification of Qualifications (ABSCQ) is a statistical classification used in the production and analysis of data on recognised post-school qualifications obtained from tertiary institutions. The classification was developed in order to classify data on qualifications collected in the 1991 Census of Population and Housing. The ABSCQ is based on qualifications currently awarded in Australia and allows previously awarded and overseas qualifications to be classified to the nearest equivalent contemporary Australian qualification. In the ABSCQ, a post-school qualification is classified according to level of attainment and field of study.
ABSCQ was designed for use in the collection and presentation of data on qualifications currently awarded in Australia. Although designed primarily as a classification of qualifications already completed, the ABSCQ may also be used in the production of statistics on educational courses which lead to these qualifications. The classification was designed to classify an educational qualification according to two main dimensions: level of attainment and field of study. Statistics on qualifications can be provided by Level of Attainment alone, by Field of Study alone (in varying degrees of detail), or by Level of Attainment and Field of Study together.
A Post-School Educational Qualification is defined as an award for attainment as a result of formal learning from an accredited post-school institution. This measure consists of two elements: Level of Attainment and Field of Study.
Field of Study is a function of the main subjects studied in the course of study leading to the award of the qualification. Fields of Study are classified into groups according to the following criteria:
Structure of the classification
To classify a qualification according to the ABSCQ, two separate attributes of a qualification are considered: Level of Attainment and Field of Study.
The Field of Study Classification has a hierarchy consisting of three levels:
The nine Broad Fields of the Field of Study Classification are:
Each educational qualification can be assigned a four digit code which incorporates both the Level of Attainment and Field of Study.
For example, the code for a Bachelor Degree in Sociology and Anthropology is 3412 :
Further information may be obtained through the following products:
Classifications and Data Standards
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This page last updated 20 January 2006
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