2900.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Understanding the Census and Census Data, Australia , 2016  
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Level of Highest Educational Attainment (HEAP)

This variable is a single measure of a person's overall highest educational attainment, whether it be a school or non-school qualification. This variable is applicable to all persons aged 15 years and over.

How this variable is created

Level of Highest Educational Attainment is derived using a combination of two variables: Highest Year of School Completed and Non-School Qualification: Level of Education. These two variables are coded using the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001, Level of Education Classification. Images of the questions used to derive Level of Highest Educational Attainment are provided below.

The following decision table (Table 1) describes how Level of Highest Educational Attainment was derived for 2016.

Table 1: Derivation of Level of Highest Educational Attainment - Decision Table


Non-School Qualification: Level of Education (QALLP)

Highest Year of School Completed (HSCP)Certificate nfd
(500)
Certificate III & IV nfd
(510)
Certificate IV
(511)
Certificate III
(514)
Certificate I & II nfd
(520)
Certificate II
(521)
Certificate I (524)Level of education inadequately described
(011)
Level of education
not stated
(&&&)

Year 12 (1)Inadequately described(a)Certificate III & IV, nfdCertificate IVCertificate IIIYear 12Year 12Year 12Inadequately describedNot stated

Year 11 (2)Inadequately described(b)Certificate III & IV, nfdCertificate IVCertificate IIIYear 11Year 11Year 11Inadequately describedNot stated

Year 10 (3)Inadequately described(c)Certificate III & IV, nfdCertificate IVCertificate IIIYear 10Year 10Year 10Inadequately describedNot stated

Year 9 (4)Inadequately described(d)Certificate III & IV, nfdCertificate IVCertificate IIICertificate I & II nfdCertificate I & II nfdCertificate IInadequately describedNot stated

Year 8 or below (5)Inadequately described(e)Certificate III & IV, nfdCertificate IVCertificate IIICertificate I & II nfdCertificate IICertificate IInadequately describedNot stated

Did not go to school (6)Inadequately described(e)Certificate III & IV, nfdCertificate IVCertificate IIICertificate I & II nfdCertificate IICertificate INot statedNot stated

Not stated (&)Not statedCertificate III & IV, nfdCertificate IVCertificate IIINot statedNot statedNot statedNot statedNot stated

nfd: not further defined
note: number in brackets refer to the classification code used for Highest Year of School Completed and Non-School Qualification: Level of Education.
(a) In 2011 Census, a person with this combination of Highest Year of School completed and Non-School Qualification: Level of Education was assigned Year 12.
(b) In 2011 Census, a person with this combination of Highest Year of School completed and Non-School Qualification: Level of Education was assigned Year 11.
(c) In 2011 Census, a person with this combination of Highest Year of School completed and Non-School Qualification: Level of Education was assigned Year 10.
(d) In 2011 Census, a person with this combination of Highest Year of School completed and Non-School Qualification: Level of Education was assigned Year 9.
(e) In 2011 Census, a person with this combination of Highest Year of School completed and Non-School Qualification: Level of Education was assigned Year 8 or below
Variable history

While questions regarding educational qualifications in general have been asked for every census since 1911, Level of Highest Educational Attainment, which combines measures of school and non-school education, was first used in 2006. Changes have been made in 2016 which are explained below.

Non-response rate

Non-response rate only applies to data items that directly reflect responses to individual Census form questions. Level of Highest Educational Attainment does not have a non-response rate as it is a derived value created during Census processing for applicable persons. For more information, refer to Understanding Census data quality.

Data usage notes

Administrative data

Level of Highest Educational Attainment is derived from Highest Year of School Completed and Non-School Qualification: Level of Education. However, for people who were in prisons on Census night, Level of Highest Educational Attainment was sourced directly through administrative data. So the underlying data for Highest Year of School Completed and Non-School Qualification: Level of Education are 'not stated' for these records.

Inadequately described

Counts of people with a Level of Highest Educational Attainment category of 'Inadequately described' has increased to 2.7% 2016 (1.4% in 2011). This is because there has been a change in the way this variable is derived in 2016.

In 2011, people with Highest Year of School Completed of Year 8 or below to Year 12 and a Certificate not further defined were assigned a Level of Highest Educational Attainment the same as their highest year of school completed. However, in 2016, people with Highest Year of School Completed of Year 8 or below to Year 12 and a Certificate not further defined were assigned a Level of Highest Educational Attainment as 'Inadequately described'.

Further information

A definition of Level of Highest Educational Attainment is available in the 2016 Census Dictionary.
For information related to Level of Highest Educational Attainment, see data quality statements for Highest Year of School Completed and Non-School Qualification: Level of Education.

Household form question image

Questions 27, 28, 29 and 30 as they appeared on the 2016 Census Household Paper Form:

Image: 2016 Household Paper Form - Question 27. What is the highest year of primary or secondary school the person has completed?
Image: 2016 Household Paper Form - Question 28. Has the person completed any educational qualifications (including a trade certificate)?
Image: 2016 Household Paper Form - Question 29. What is the level of the highest qualification the person has completed?
Image: 2016 Household Paper Form - Question 30. What is the main field of study for the person's highest qualification completed?
A text only version of the online Census Household form is available from the Downloads tab.