2901.0 - Census Dictionary , 2006 (Reissue)  
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Contents >> Short Definitions and Classifications - 2006 >> Highest Year of School Completed (HSCP) - Characteristics 2006

Highest Year of School Completed (HSCP)

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Image of Question
Quality Statement


This variable (previously called Highest Level of Schooling Completed) records the highest level of primary or secondary school a person has completed. It is classified to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED). The data are used to help build a picture of the education levels in each area of Australia and to assist in the planning of educational facilities. More Detailed Description

Image of Question

2006 Household Form - Question 27


This classification has changed since the 2001 Census. In 2001 it included a category 'Still at school'.
Applicable to: Persons aged 15 years and over

1. Year 12 or equivalent
2. Year 11 or equivalent
3. Year 10 or equivalent
4. Year 9 or equivalent
5. Year 8 or below
6. Did not go to school
& Not stated
@ Not applicable
V Overseas visitor

Total number of categories: 9

More Detailed DescriptionQuality Statement - Highest Year of School Completed (HSCP)

There are many aspects which can affect the quality of Census data; the following information should be considered when viewing data on Highest Year of School Completed (HSCP).

This data was captured automatically from check box responses on the form so the risk of processing is minimal. Sample checks of the data are undertaken to ensure an acceptable level of quality. Only persons aged 15 years and over were asked to complete this question.

The non-response rate for 2006 was 9.9% compared with 7.7% for 2001. Part of this non-response is attributable to the 4.2% of persons (aged 15 years and over) in dwellings which were occupied on Census Night but did not return a completed form. In these cases persons are imputed into these dwellings together with some demographic characteristics. However the values for Highest Year of School Completed (HSCP) remain not stated. In 2001, 1.7% of persons aged 15 years or over were imputed into dwellings for which no form was received.

In a small proportion of cases (testing has indicated that this is around 1%), respondents provided more than the required number of responses (for HSCP, respondents are asked to only mark one response). In these cases responses are accepted in the order they appear on the form and the extra responses are rejected.

The response 'Still at school', which accounted for 3.7% of all responses in 2001, was removed for 2006. Persons still attending school in 2006 were required to mark the response for the highest year
they had completed. In addition the order of responses on the form was reversed between the 2001 and 2006 Censuses, with 'Year 12' listed first for 2006 and the remainder of the responses following in descending order.

Both of these factors may have influenced the distributions of responses between the two censuses, as illustrated in Figure 1. To facilitate an overview of response distributions, non-response has not been included in the comparison. To further enhance comparability between the two censuses, all people who had indicated that they were attending school were removed from both the 2001 Census (via exclusion responses to the 'Still at school' category for HSCP) and the 2006 Census (via exclusion of respondents who indicated school attendance at the Type of Educational Institution (TYPP) question).

Figure 1: Comparison of responses to HSCP, 2001 and 2006 Censuses

* The following data components were excluded from this analysis: non-response to HSCP for both the 2001 and 2006 Censuses, respondents who marked the 'Still at school' category for HSCP for the 2001 Census; and respondents who indicated that they were attending school in the Type of Educational Institution Attended (TYPP) question for the 2006 Census.

As can be seen from Figure 1, there was an increase of 6% in Year 12 responses for the 2006 Census (when Year 12 was listed as the first response option) and corresponding decreases in responses to the 'Year 8 or below' (-2.4%), 'Year 9' (-1.3%) and 'Year 10' (-1.6%) categories. However, the response distribution change between the 2006 and 2001 Censuses for 'Year 11' (-0.6%) and 'Did not go to school' (-0.1%) was minimal.

Additional sources of information regarding highest level of schooling completed 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.
  • Education and Training Experience, Australia (ABS Cat. No. 6278.0, various years), which presents information from the Survey of Education and Training.

Note that the Survey of Education and Work and the Survey of Education and Training generally do not have non-response in the Highest Year Schooling Completed question due to using an interviewer based collection methodology.

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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