4240.0.55.002 - National Early Childhood Education and Care Collection: Data Collection Guide, 2011  
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Contents >> Data Element Collection Instructions >> Data Element Collection Overview


This chapter provides detailed collection instructions, guidelines and definitions for each data element in the 2011 National ECEC Collection. These are ABS recommended guidelines of the ideal data collection framework, based on the 2011 ECEC National Minimum Data Set (ECEC NMDS). This guide is a key document to assist jurisdictions involved in the National ECEC Collection.


Technical name: A succinct title of the data element, briefly describing the object class, the data concept and the data format, e.g. Child - preschool program hours attended per week, total hours N[N]. This is the same name that is used in the ECEC NMDS technical name attribute.

METeOR identifier: The code assigned to the data element in the AIHW Metadata Online Registry (METeOR), e.g. 390310. If there is no METeOR identifier assigned, the data element was not included in the 2011 ECEC NMDS and was an additional data element requested by ABS for 2011.

METeOR link: A web link to the data element in METeOR. If there is no METeOR link, the data element was not included in the 2011 ECEC NMDS and was an additional data element requested by ABS for 2011.
METeOR definition: A description of the meaning of the data element as outlined in METeOR for the 2011 ECEC NMDS, e.g. 'The total number of hours of a preschool program that a child has attended per week'.

Inclusions: Provides information on the population to be included within a data element.

Exclusions: Provides information on the population not to be included within a data element (e.g. exclude all unpaid workers).

Underlying Concepts
This section outlines the key concept of the data element as it relates to the National ECEC Collection. The conceptual basis of the standard arises from the analytical requirements it is intended to support. The specific details required for this section are listed below.

Nominal definition: Explains the concept as it would ideally be collected. For aggregate child data elements collected at the service provider level, this section outlines the concept as it would be collected at the unit record level.

Operational definition: This section specifies the concept as it is actually collected. The operational definition can differ from the nominal definition, because operational constraints may prevent collecting the concept exactly as it is defined in the nominal definition. For aggregate child data elements collected at the service provider level, this section states the concept as it should be reported, given the aggregate methodological restrictions.

Supporting data elements: This is a list of supporting data elements which are required to ascertain values for the standard, required for an editing process, or combined with the data element to derive additional values.

Conceptual issues: Outlines issues that are specific to the data element, such as how the data element is derived, or related definitions. This section will also explain why the operational definition varies from the nominal definition.

Standard Jurisdictional Output Categories
This section specifies the output required to be produced by the jurisdiction, which includes information on the format and classification structure of the data and the legal value checks required to be undertaken prior to submission to the ABS. The jurisdictional output categories directly align with the ABS input categories. In the majority of instances, the information contained in this section aligns with the format presented in METeOR in the 'Value domain attributes' section. Some aggregate data element output categories differ from the METeOR 'Value domain attributes', due to the aggregate collection methodology.

Representation class: Specifies the representation class of data such as date, text, code, identifier or numeric total. Data element values can be enumerated (e.g. total hours) or non-numerical (e.g. Sex, M/F).

Data type: Summarises the permissible data types, e.g. Date, Number, String.

Format: Specifies the presentation structure of the data value, e.g. for Date of birth, DDMMYYYY, for Letters of family name, text X[X(40)], for Preschool program attendance indicator, yes/no, code N.

Maximum character length: Details the maximum character length that is valid for the data field.
Unit of measure: Specifies the unit of measure attributed to the data value, e.g. for Preschool program hours enrolled, Hour (h).

Classification structure: Includes the classification and supplementary values for the data element. Jurisdictions should undertake mapping of their data from local values to the format presented in this section prior to outputting the data to the ABS. These classifications in most cases align directly with the values presented in METeOR. There may be cases where supplementary value codes are missing from METeOR or the ABS requires alternative values, and therefore these values may differ. The ABS requests that jurisdictions use the codes as stated within this manual.

Legal value checks: Details the edit checks that the ABS recommends jurisdictions undertake on their data sets prior to submission. Adherence to the edit checks in these tables will assist the ABS to ensure that jurisdictional data are compiled according to national standards and classifications, and to ensure comparability of statistics.

Guide for Use
This section provides instructions to assist with the collection of the data element.

Counting rules: Collection standards that ensure the correct properties and related attributes for the data element are obtained. Counting rules aim to ensure consistency and comparability of data, e.g. 'enrolment hours in non-instructional activities such as recess, tea breaks and lunch breaks should be included if the child was under the supervision of the service provider organisation'.

Classification definitions
Outlines the definitions for each of the classifications and supplementary values.

Other information
Provides any other relevant information.

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