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2901.0 - Census Dictionary, 2006 (Reissue)  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/10/2007  Reissue
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Contents >> Short Definitions and Classifications - 2006 >> Non-School Qualification: Field of Study (QALFP) - Characteristics 2006

Non-School Qualification: Field of Study

On this page:
Description
Image of Question
Classification
Quality Statement



Description

This variable describes the field of study of the highest completed non-school qualification. More Detailed Description


Image of Question

2006 Household Form - Question 30

Classification

Applicable to: Persons aged 15 years and over who stated a completed qualification.

01. Natural and Physical Sciences
02. Information Technology
03. Engineering and Related Technologies
04. Architecture and Building
05. Agriculture, Environmental and Related Studies
06. Health
07. Education
08. Management and Commerce
09. Society and Culture
10. Creative Arts
11. Food, Hospitality and Personal Services
12. Mixed Field Programmes

Supplementary codes
000110 Field of study inadequately described
&&&&&& Field of study not stated
@@@@@@ Not applicable
VVVVVV Overseas visitor

Total number of categories:
two digit level 12
four digit level 83
six digit level 435

More Detailed Description
Quality Statement - Non-School Qualification: Field of Study (QALFP)

There are many aspects which can affect the quality of Census data; the following information should be considered when viewing data on Non-School Qualification: Field of Study (QALFP).

Non-School Qualification: Field of Study (QALFP) is coded from written responses to question 30 on the household form, and is coded in conjunction with Non-School Qualification: Level of Education (QALLP), question 29 on the household form. This process ensures that the level of qualification corresponds to the field of study and for a small proportion of data where this is not the case, the level is amended.

Where possible, standard procedures are used to obtain a level of study code. However, the level of detail provided on the Census form, and therefore the ease with which responses can be coded, varies. Standard automated processes were used to obtain codes for 65.4% of all records presented for automatic coding. A further 12.6% of records presented for automatic coding were able to be coded in bulk at a later stage due to identified similarities in characteristics between groups of these records. More complex responses were coded using clerical procedures and this accounted for 21.9% of all records initially presented for the automatic coding process . All coding processes were subject to sample checks to ensure an acceptable level of quality.

Of the records sent for clerical coding, 74.8% were able to be coded in basic coding while the remaining 25.2% went to 'Best Fit'. 'Best Fit' enables the person coding the responses to determine whether it is appropriate for responses to be classified into a category when they are not an 'exact' fit.

Figure 1: Qualification Indicator Question
Figure 1: Qualification Indicator Question

Table 1 provides proportions of responses to Non-School Qualification: Field of Study (QALFP) as they relate to the Qualification Indicator Question, which is question 28 on the household form (see Figure 1). While the Qualification Indicator Question is used in the derivation of Non-School Qualification: Level of Education (QALLP), Non-School Qualification: Field of Study (QALFP) and Level of Highest Educational Attainment (HEAP), it is not available as a standard data item.

As can be seen by Table 1, response rates for QALFP include a small number of people who did not indicate whether they had a qualification at the Qualification Indicator Question but went on to state the field of their qualification at QALFP. Just under a quarter of these (24%) were coded to the Management and Commerce field. Of those coded to Management and Commerce, the four groups with the largest proportions of responses were Business and Management (31.6%), Office Studies (23.3%), Accounting (16.8%) and Sales and Marketing (12.7%).

As is also shown in Table 1, a large component of non-response for QALFP is due to people answering neither the Qualification Indicator Question nor the QALFP questions, including people who may not have seen the qualifications questions as relevant to themselves and those people who were imputed into occupied dwellings from which no form had been returned. However, as it may not be appropriate to consider these groups of non-respondents when calculating non-response for the directly applicable population, further analysis was undertaken so that non-response could be considered only in relation to those people who were applicable, that is those who would be expected to answer the further qualification questions if they had followed the sequencing at the Qualification Indicator Question. For example, respondents who had indicated at the Qualification Indicator Question that they had completed a qualification (see Figure 1 for an image of the Qualification Indicator Question, and Table 2 for further non-response analysis).


Table 1: Response derivation for Qualification Indicator
Questiona by QALFP, people aged 15 years or over, 2006 Census
Qualification Indicator Questiona
QALFP
'000
%
Stated ('Yes' response)b
Stated
6,429.8
40.4
Not stated
178.3
1.1
Stated ('No' response)c
Not applicable
7,556.3
47.5
Not stated
Stated
174.8
1.1
Not statedd
914.8
5.7
Non-response due to people (aged 15 or over) being imputed into dwellings:
664.1
4.2
Total population aged 15 years or over:
15,918.1
100
a Question 28 on the household form, see Figure 1.
b 'Yes' responses only, indicating that the person had completed an educational
qualification.
c 'No' responses only, indicating that the person had not completed an educational
qualification.
d This figure includes 909,190 people who did not respond to all three qualification
questions (Qualification Indicator Question, QALLP, QALFP).


As can be seen in Table 2, the non-response rate for QALFP was 2.7% for the 2006 Census. This compares with 3.8% for 2001. However these rates only apply to persons who stated at the Qualification Indicator Question (see Figure 1) that they had completed a qualification.


Table 2: Response derivation for Qualification Indicator Questiona
by QALFP, population who indicated that they had completed a
qualification, 2006 Census
Qualification Indicator Questiona
QALFP
'000
%
Stated ('Yes' response)b
Stated
6,429.8
97.3
Not stated
178.3
2.7
(non-response rate)
Total
6,608.2
100
a Question 28 on the household form, see Figure 1.
b 'Yes' responses only, indicating that the person had completed an education qualification.

Comparison with other ABS data sources

Field of study data is also collected by the ABS in other household collections. One collection is the Survey of Education and Work (SEW) which was conducted as a supplementary survey to the Labour Force Survey in May 2006. Comparative data is included in the table below. There is a range of differences in the scope, coverage, timing, and collection methodologies of the two collections, and these are the major contributors to the differences in the counts in the table. SEW figures are generally higher as Census data is not adjusted for underenumeration and only includes those usual residents present in Australia on Census Night. SEW data is based on a sample of the population and is weighted to take account of non-response. It should also be noted that the Survey of Education and Work generally do not have non-response in the Field of highest non-school qualification question due to using an interviewer based collection methodology.

To enable better comparison across the collections, non-response in Census data for the question asking about Non-School Qualification: Field of Study (QALFP) and/or the question asking about Non-School Qualification: Level of Qualification (QALLP) has been removed from the table below. For further consistency with the SEW, the population of census respondents was restricted to include only people aged between 15 and 64 years.

As Table 3 shows, despite the differences outlined above, the proportions of persons in the broad field of study categories are quite similar.


Table 3: Comparison of 2006 Census and Survey of Education and Work, May 2006 ('000s)
2006 Censusa
2006 SEW
Field of study of persons with a non-school qualification
'000
%
'000
%
Field of study inadequately described
86.1
1.5
92.8
1.3
Natural and Physical Sciences
205.1
3.6
248.4
3.5
Information Technology
214.6
3.7
251.4
3.6
Engineering and Related Technologies
1,118.7
19.4
1,350.3
19.2
Architecture and Building
386.3
6.7
430.5
6.1
Agriculture, Environmental and Related Studies
151.8
2.6
194.3
2.8
Health
589.6
10.2
686.4
9.8
Education
533.4
9.3
532.3
7.6
Management and Commerce
1,197.1
20.8
1,625.4
23.2
Society and Culture
679.1
11.8
879.5
12.5
Creative Arts
230.4
4.0
281.0
4.0
Food, Hospitality and Personal Services
358.2
6.2
440.3
6.3
Mixed Field Programmes
5.4
0.1
6.4
0.1
Total of persons with a non-school qualification
5,755.9
100
7,019.5
100
a For consistency with the SEW, the population of census respondents was restricted to include
only people aged between 15 and 64 years.


The Census is not subject to the sampling error which can occur in household surveys for estimates below the national level, and can therefore provide field of study data for small geographic areas or population groups, together with a range of other demographic and social characteristics. However, users of Census data at this more detailed level should be mindful of the limitations of collecting information via a census self-completed paper or e-form questionnaire where the responses provided are sometimes not sufficiently detailed to obtain an appropriate field of study code. In comparison, ABS household surveys conducted as personal interviews (either in person, or via telephone) allow interviewers to clarify concepts and questions for respondents.

Additional sources of information regarding level and field of highest educational qualification can be found in other ABS publications and associated collections, including:
  • Education and Work, Australia (ABS Cat. No. 6227.0, various years), which presents information from the Survey of Education and Work about the educational experience of people aged 15-64 years, especially in relation to their labour force status
  • Education and Training Experience, Australia (ABS Cat. No. 6278.0, various years), which presents information from the Survey of Education and Training about the education and training experiences of people aged 15-74 years.
The ABS aims to produce high quality data from the Census. To achieve this, extensive effort is put into Census form design, collection procedures, and processing procedures. More details regarding these efforts can be found in:
All are available from the ABS Website


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