This chapter reviews the methodology and quality of jurisdictional early childhood education and care data and the sources from which the data was obtained for the 2010 National Early Childhood Education Care (ECEC) Collection. As there is considerable variability in the data collected by each of the states and territories, this chapter aims to clarify the quality of the data and the mechanisms used for collecting the data.
It must be noted that data from the Child Care Management System (CCMS) were not available for the 2010 National ECEC Collection and therefore is not included in this chapter. More information about the CCMS can be found in Chapter 2, Collection Overview.
For some jurisdictions teacher level data was collected, however for the purposes of the 2010 National ECEC Collection this information was not disseminated. In 2010 teacher data was collected through the National Workforce Census, which was an initiative of the Australian Government in partnership with state and territory governments.
This outlines the nature of preschool delivery and the relevant management types for each jurisdiction, which may include information on legislation and licensing arrangements. The management type is then disaggregated by preschool or Long Day Care (LDC) as main service activity type. Management type is also further disaggregated by either government or non-government. This disaggregation aligns with table presentation from the publication Experimental Estimates of Preschool Education, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 4240.0).
The distinction between a preschool and LDC main service activity type is as follows:
Preschool comprises a structured educational program usually provided by a qualified teacher on a sessional basis in dedicated preschools. Similar educational programs or curricula may be provided in long day care and other settings and fall under this category if the main service activity type for these services are preschool.
Long day care
Centre-based long day care comprises services aimed primarily at 0-5 year olds that are provided in a centre usually by a mix of qualified and other staff. Educational, care and recreational programs are provided based on the development needs, interests and experience of each child. In some jurisdictions, primary school children may also receive care before and after school, and during school vacations. Services fall under this category if the main service activity type is LDC. These services may or may not deliver a preschool program.
This dimension refers to the institutional and organisational factors which may have a significant influence on the effectiveness and credibility of the agency producing the statistics. This considers the surrounding context, which may influence the validity, reliability or appropriateness of the data.
The assessment indicates how well the jurisdictional data source meets the needs of the National ECEC Collection in terms of the concepts measured, and the populations represented. This criteria also outlines the collection scope and coverage.
Timeliness refers to both the frequency with which a source is collected, and also the amount of time it takes to release the data once collected.
Data sources employ a range of methods to collect data, in this context accuracy refers to the degree to which the data correctly describes the phenomenon they were designed to measure. This is an important component of quality as it relates to how accurate the data is and impacts on how useful and meaningful the data will be for interpretation or further analysis. An assessment is made on the accessibility and availability of a source and the implications on statistics for the National ECEC Collection. To describe this dimension for the National ECEC Collection, information is provided on the collection mechanism, data processing and validation procedures.
Coherence refers to the internal consistency of a statistical collection, product or release, as well as its comparability with other sources of information, within a broad analytical framework and over time. The use of standard concepts, classifications and target populations promotes coherence, as does the use of common methodology across collections. Coherence is an important component of quality as it provides an indication of whether the data set can be usefully compared with other sources to enable data compilation and comparison. In the context of the National ECEC Collection this assessment also examines changes in concepts and alignment with the ECEC National Minimum Data Set (NMDS).
Interpretability refers to the availability of information to help provide insight into the data. Assisting with the interpretation of the data may include the variables used, the availability of metadata, including concepts, classifications, and measures of accuracy.
Accessibility refers to the ease of access to data by users, including the ease with which the existence of information can be ascertained, as well as the suitability of the form or medium through which information can be accessed. For the purpose of the data quality framework, data accessibility relates to the publication Experimental Estimates of Preschool Education, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 4240.0) and the National ECEC Collection Manual.