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4228.0 - Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, Australia, 2011-2012 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/02/2013   
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GLOSSARY

Note that some common concepts used in other ABS publications that differ for PIAAC are indicated by the use of "For PIAAC".

Apprenticeship or other training scheme

For PIAAC, an apprenticeship or other training scheme is where a person has signed a legal contract with an employer to undertake on-the-job training to become a trades person. An apprenticeship includes additional studies.

Computer

For PIAAC, a computer refers to a mainframe, desktop or laptop computer, or any other device that can be used to do such things as sending or receiving email messages, processing data or text, or finding things on the internet. This includes mobile phones and other hand-held electronic devices that are used to connect to the internet, check emails etc.

Computer-based exercise

Self-enumerated exercises for the respondent to complete on the computer which measured literacy, numeracy or problem solving in technology-rich environments skills. Respondents were directed to complete a computer-based exercise if they had indicated that they had prior computer experience.

Core stage

The core stage of the self-enumerated exercise was designed to assess the respondent's capacity to undertake the main exercise. The computer-based path contained Core Stage 1 which determined if the respondent had the necessary basic computer skills (such as clicking, typing, scrolling, dragging, highlighting and using pull-down menus) to proceed with the computer-based path, and Core Stage 2 which determined if the respondent had the basic literacy and numeracy skills to proceed to the main exercise. The paper-based path had a core booklet to determine if the respondent had the basic literacy and numeracy skills to continue to the main exercise.

Correspondence or distance courses

Correspondence or distance courses require communicating with a teacher or trainer by exchanging printed or electronic media, or through technology that allows communication in real time. Such a course may include periodic live-in or residential sessions. It may be also be referred to as studying 'externally'.

Document literacy

This measure of literacy was collected in ALLS 2006 and SAL 1996. It is defined as the knowledge and skills required to locate and use information contained in various formats including job applications, payroll forms, transportation schedules, maps, tables and charts. The document literacy scores from ALLS and SAL will be combined with the prose literacy scores (from ALLS and SAL), and remodelled to produce a combined literacy scale comparable to the PIAAC literacy scale.

Employed

For PIAAC, people who, during the reference week:
  • did paid work for one hour or more for an employer or in their own business, or
  • were away from a job or business that they plan to return to, or
  • did unpaid work for at least one hour for a business that they or a relative owns.
Equivalised gross household income

Equivalised gross household income is household income adjusted by the application of an equivalence scale to facilitate comparison of income levels between households of differing size and composition, reflecting that a larger household would normally need more income than a smaller household to achieve the same standard of living. Equivalised gross household income is derived by calculating an equivalence factor according to the 'modified OECD' equivalence scale, and then dividing income by the factor. The equivalence factor is built up by allocating points to each person in a household (1 point to the first adult, 0.5 points to each additional person who is 15 years and over, and 0.3 to each child under the age of 15) and then summing the equivalence points of all household members. Equivalised gross household income can be viewed as an indicator of the economic resources available to a standardised household. For a lone person household it is equal to household income. For a household comprising more than one person, it is an indicator of the household income that would be needed by a lone person household to enjoy the same level of economic wellbeing.

Fixed term contract

A fixed term contract refers to a contract that has a specific end date or is for a specific event.

Formal education / qualification

Refers to studies that, when completed, result in formal qualifications at primary, secondary, university or post-secondary level.Indefinite contract

An indefinite contract is a contract or agreement (e.g. a Collective or Enterprise Agreement) with no set end or finish date.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills

Respondents who indicated they had prior computer experience provided information about the frequency of their computer and internet usage and, if applicable, the level of computer skills required for their current/last job.

Job-related

For PIAAC, activities that are job-related do not necessarily refer to one specific job, but to employment in general.

Labour force status

A classification into the categories of employed, unemployed and out of the labour force (international terminology) or not in labour force (Australian terminology). The preliminary tables of this publication apply a concept of labour force as defined for the international PIAAC survey. Additional tables, to be appended to this publication later in 2013, contain labour force data which applies concepts more closely aligned with the ABS Labour Force Survey. However, there is a subtle difference in the concept of 'Unemployed', which in turn impacts on the estimates for 'Out of labour force'. See the Unemployed definitions provided below for further detail.

Last job or business

This is relevant for people who do not have current employment, but have recent work experience in the 12 months prior to the interview, or who left paid work within the five years prior to the interview.

Literacy

Literacy, as defined by the OECD for the PIAAC survey, is understanding, evaluating, using and engaging with written texts to participate in society, to achieve one's goals, and to develop one's knowledge and potential. Refer to the appendix titled Scores and skill levels for further information about literacy skill levels. Main English speaking countries

The main English speaking countries (excluding Australia) are: Canada, Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America.

Main exercise

The main exercise was a set of self-enumerated tasks which were designed to measure the respondent's skills in the domains of literacy, numeracy or problem solving in technology-rich environments. The main exercise could be conducted by either a computer-based exercise or paper-based exercise. The problem solving in technology-rich environments domain was only assessed in the computer-based exercises. Respondents proceeded to the main exercise if they passed the core stage.

Main job or business

This refers to the job or business where the person was employed for the most hours during the reference week. If the person had two jobs or businesses where they worked the same amount of time, this refers to the job or business where they earned the most.

Marginally attached to the labour force

People who were not in the labour force in the reference week, wanted to work and:
  • were actively looking for work but did not meet the availability criteria to be classified as unemployed, or
  • were not actively looking for work but were available to start work within four weeks.
The criteria for determining those in the labour force are based on activity (i.e. working or looking for work) and availability to start work during the reference week. The criteria associated with marginal attachment to the labour force, in particular the concepts of wanting to work and reasons for not actively looking for work, are more subjective. Hence, the measurement against these criteria is affected by the respondent's own interpretation of the concepts used. An individual respondent's interpretation may be affected by their work aspirations, as well as family, economic and other commitments.

Non-school qualification

Non-school qualifications are awarded for educational attainments other than those of pre-primary, primary or secondary education. They include qualifications at the Postgraduate Degree level, Master Degree level, Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate level, Bachelor Degree level, Advanced Diploma and Diploma level, and Certificates I, II, III and IV levels. Non-school qualifications may be attained concurrently with school qualifications. Not in the labour force / Out of labour force

People who were not in the categories 'employed' or ' unemployed'.

Numeracy

Numeracy, as defined by the OECD for the PIAAC survey, is the ability to access, use, interpret, and communicate mathematical information and ideas, in order to engage in and manage the mathematical demands of a range of situations in adult life. This definition should be paired with the definition of numerative behaviour which is managing a situation or solving a problem in a real context, by responding to mathematical content/information/ideas represented in multiple ways.Refer to the appendix titled Scores and skill levels for further information about numeracy skill levels.

Observation module

The observation module was a series of questions that the interviewer answered when the interview was complete and the interviewer had left the respondent's home. The questions collected information about the interview setting such as any events that might have interrupted or distracted the respondent during the exercise.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The OECD is an international organisation that works with governments to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change in order to promote policies that will improve economic and social well-being. For PIAAC, the OECD coordinated an international consortium of organisations to manage the survey across the 24 countries that participated in the survey.

Out of the labour force / Not in the labour force

People who were not in the categories 'employed' or 'unemployed'.

Paid work

Paid work is any work for pay or profit, even for as little as one hour per week. Pay includes cash payments or 'payment in kind' (payment in goods or services rather than money), whether payment was received in the week the work was done or not. Also counted as working for pay is anyone who receives wages for on-the-job training that involves the production of goods or services.

Paper-based exercise

Self-enumerated exercises for the respondent to complete in paper booklets which measured literacy or numeracy as well as basic reading skills. Respondents were directed to complete a paper-based exercise if they did not have prior computer experience (as determined by their answers in the background questionnaire), if they did not pass the computer-based Core Stages, or they refused to take the computer-based exercise.

Plausible value

For each respondent in PIAAC, ten plausible values (scores) were generated for the domains measured. While simple population estimates for any domain can be produced by choosing at random only one of the ten plausible values, this publication uses an average of the ten values. For example in order to report an estimate of the total number of people at Level 1 for literacy, the weighted estimate of the number of respondents at Level 1 for each of the ten plausible values for literacy individually, was calculated. The ten weighted estimates were then summed. Finally, this result was divided by ten to obtain the estimate of the total number of people at Level 1 for literacy. The process was repeated for each skill level. Refer to the appendix titled Scores and skill levels for further information about the calculation of estimates using all ten plausible values in combination.

Problem Solving in Technology-Rich Environments (PSTRE)

PSTRE, as defined by the OECD for the PIAAC survey, is using digital technology, communication tools and networks to acquire and evaluate information, communicate with others and perform practical tasks. PIAAC focuses on abilities to solve problems for personal, work and civic purposes by setting up appropriate goals and plans, accessing and making use of information through computers and computer networks. Refer to the appendix titled Scores and skill levels for further information about PSTRE skill levels.

Prose literacy

This measure of prose literacy was collected in ALLS 2006 and SAL 1996. It is defined as the knowledge and skills needed to understand and use various kinds of information from text including editorials, news stories, brochures and instruction manuals. The prose literacy scores from ALLS and SAL have been combined with the document literacy scores (from ALLS and SAL), and have been remodelled to produce a combined literacy scale comparable to the PIAAC literacy scale.

Reading Components

The Reading Components booklet measured basic reading skills and contained three parts: word meaning, sentence processing and basic passage comprehension.

Reference week

The week preceding the week in which the interview was conducted.

Response Probability

This is the probability of a respondent providing a correct answer to an item in the self-enumerated assessment. It is a function of two things: an item's characteristics (e.g. level of difficulty) and a respondent's characteristics (e.g. age, education). For PIAAC, a model with a response probability value of 0.67 was used. Therefore, the proficiency score in a skill domain reflects the level of difficulty of items that a respondent, as well as other people with a similar profile, are able to answer correctly 67% of the time.

Self-employed

Self-employed includes people who have their own business or are partners in a business as well as freelancers. A self-employed person may or may not have employees.

Self-enumerated exercise

The self-enumerated exercise was designed to measure skills in the areas of literacy, numeracy or problem solving in technology-rich environments. The respondents completed the exercise either on a computer or in paper booklets. The exercise consisted of a core stage, a main exercise, and some respondents completed a Reading Components booklet. There were no time limits and no assistance was allowed, See the Explanatory Notes for further information about the self-enumerated exercise.

Skill domain

The three skill domains measured in PIAAC are literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments.

Skill level

To facilitate analysis, the proficiency scores for literacy and numeracy have been grouped into five skill levels, and the problem solving in technology-rich environments scores have been grouped into three levels, with Level 1 being the lowest measured level of literacy. The levels indicate specific sets of abilities, and therefore, the thresholds for the levels are not equidistant. As a result, the ranges of scores in each level are not identical. Refer to the appendix titled Scores and skill levels for a detailed description of the skill levels for each skill domain. Unemployed - Australian data item

People aged 15-74 years who were not employed, were available for work in the reference week, and at any time in the four weeks up to the end of the reference week:
  • had actively looked for full-time or part-time work, or
  • were waiting to start a new job.
This item is proposed to be included in data which will be released at a later date.

Unemployed - International data item

The definition of unemployed, using the labour force concept defined for the international PIAAC survey, is people aged 15-74 years who were not employed, and:
  • had actively looked for full-time or part-time work at any time in the four weeks up to the end of the reference week and were available for work within 2 weeks, or
  • will be starting a job within 3 months and could have started within 2 weeks had the job been available then.
Unpaid work

Unpaid work is any task directly contributed to the operation of a business for which the person did not receive or expected to receive any pay, payment in kind or profit.

Valid skip

Responses in this category represent respondents who did not get asked the question for the data item because the question was not relevant for that respondent.

Vocational education and training (VET)

VET is a program of study that is intended to develop proficiency in skills relevant to the workplace or entry to further education. These courses are typically associated with preparatory, operative, trades/skilled and para-professional education and training. VET may also be referred to as 'school based traineeship' and includes subjects that lead to a certificate or statement of attainment. Students in some schools can receive a VET qualification while still attending school.

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