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EDUCATION AND TRAINING MATTERS
THE ROLE OF NCETS
The National Centre for Education and Training Statistics (NCETS) is based at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in Canberra. It has responsibility for:
NCETS is represented on a number of committees and working groups where we provide statistical and technical advice and support on a range of education and training policies and programmes. These include:
You can find out more about NCETS on the Education and Training Noticeboard, under 'The National Centre for Education and Training Statistics'.
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN EDUCATION AND TRAINING STATISTICS
The results of a research project to identify and develop quality, consistent national measures in the field of early childhood education statistics, are now available. The Information Paper: Measuring Learning in Australia: Concepts and Directions in Early Childhood Learning, 2007 (cat.no. 4232.0) was released in December 2007. It outlines the project's findings and proposes a suite of measures and data development activities needed to provide relevant and quality data for comparable analysis across states and territories. This research reflects the growing recognition of the importance of information about early childhood education, including recent initiatives related to the National Reform Agenda to assess the basic skill levels of young children, to improve early childhood development outcomes. At this stage, we are considering options for the future dissemination of the measures.
A lot has been happening recently in the area of schools statistics to enhance data collection and reporting. Core data from the 2007 NSSC was released in Schools, Australia Preliminary, 2007 (cat. no. 4220.0) on 4 February, followed by the release of the main publication Schools, Australia, 2007 (cat. no. 4221.0) on 29 February 2008. The earlier than usual release of selected summary (preliminary) data from the National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC), enabled jurisdictions to met their planning needs at the commencement of the new school year. Another development in school statistics this year, is the introduction of the Apparent Continuation Rate in Schools, Australia and related standard outputs. This new measure has been developed for use in conjunction with the existing Apparent Retention Rates. The proposed expansion of the NSSC to provide a broader range of nationally comparable data, to better meet the information needs of parents, schools systems, analysts, and researchers is a project that is being guided by the NETSU Management Board.
NCETS projects to arise from the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey, relate to youth and small area estimates. The first project, Literacy Skills of Australian Youth, focuses on the literacy of 15-19 and 20-24 year old cohorts. Comparisons have been made at the national, state and territory levels and with the findings of PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) and TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study). A report of findings has been provided to the NETSU Management Board. The second project will derive experimental estimates of adult literacy for smaller geographical areas. Results of this research project are expected to be released in July 2008.
The first of a new series of detailed education and training spreadsheets (or 'data cubes') is now available via the ABS website. In the first instance, 11 spreadsheets utilising a range of ABS data, are being developed to present data from 2001 to 2007 on a range of key performance measures of participation, engagement and attainment. The spreadsheet 'Persons with a qualification at AQF Certificate III level or above, by State/Territory of Residence, Sex and age group (Includes data for 2001-2007)' can be accessed via the publication Education and Work, Australia May 2007 (cat. no. 6227.0). More data cubes will be available during the year.
Over the last 12 months, ABS and DEEWR have worked together in improving awareness of financial statistics on education, focusing on final expenditure data. The ABS provides two main sources of relevant information: Government Finance Statistics, which in turn are a key component of the National Accounts. Other important data sources or outputs also exist. A key aim of the project has been to document the key conceptual differences between the various sources in order to assist more meaningful discussions about differences in the underlying data series. In doing so, the project will culminate in a working document for internal use by ABS-DEEWR, that will provide clarity to data and associated definitions. This will ultimately lead to more confidence in and consistency between the various series reporting on education expenditures. Other expected outcomes of the project could include further engagement of Commonwealth and state agencies to improve data quality and comparability of the collections. ABS will publish on a regular basis, estimates of total final expenditure on education (public and private), but where this will be published is yet to be determined. Our next newsletter will contain further details.
These and other recent developments are described in more detail on the Education and Training Noticeboard, under 'What's New' and 'Work in Progress'.
The education module in the 2006 Census of Population and Housing includes the variable 'Level of Highest Educational Attainment'. You can find out more about this and other education variables in Census Dictionary Australia, 2006 (Reissue) (ABS cat. no. 2901.0). The Census home page will direct you to the array of Census publications, electronic products and services that are currently available. You can also search for data based primarily on a selected location or topic, or you can go straight to one of the on-line tools to access data in the format you need.
The Directory of Education and Training Statistics, 2007 (ABS cat. no. 1136.0) has recently been updated. The directory provides a rapid guide to the growing range of statistical resources related to education and training activity in Australia, from both ABS and other sources. It provides a summary of the scope, frequency, data items and related products associated with each ABS statistical collection. Similar information pertaining to a number of non-ABS collections, along with links to relevant websites, is also published in the directory.
Results from the Adult Learning Survey (ALS) were obtained in the 2006-07 Multi-Purpose Household Survey, which was conducted as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey. This survey examined the participation of Australians in formal, non-formal and informal learning in the twelve months prior to the interview. It presents data concerned with the recent learning experiences of people aged 25 to 64 years.
The ALS built upon the concept of lifelong learning as defined in the OECD’s Eurostat Adult Education Survey, which characterises learning into three distinct categories:
PARTICIPANTS IN ADULT LEARNING
Of those workers in full-time employment, 69% participated in formal or non-formal adult learning. This figure was proportionately higher than those full-time workers that chose to engage with informal learning activities (61%). Conversely, those people who were not in the labour force in 2006-07 were more likely to participate in informal learning (17%), rather than formal or non-formal learning activities (10%). Interestingly, the survey also revealed that people with a Bachelor Degree qualification or above, are more likely to participate in formal or non-formal (55%), or informal learning (89%), then those who do not hold a qualification (24% and 62%).
The ALS has yielded additional information on adult learning and data concerning the three categories of learning. To read more and access the results please refer to the Adult Learning, Australia, 2006-07 (cat. no. 4229.0).
APPARENT CONTINUATION RATE
The ABS has moved towards expanding the number of available measures of retention and participation for school students. The latest addition, which debuted in the Schools, Australia, 2007 publication, is the Apparent Continuation Rate (ACR). The ACR is used to provide insight into participation in the non-compulsory years of school education. Similar to Apparent Retention Rates, it is probably most effective in describing the activity of cohorts in post-compulsory schooling (e.g. aged 16 years and over). In most cases the ACR will show some level of decline in the level of participation with increasing age. However, with movement between school systems and between jurisdictions, some increases in levels of participation may occur.
More specifically, the ACR is a measure that describes the movement in the proportions of a population cohort attending school, between one year and the next, expressed as a percentage. For instance, it is estimated that 89% of Australians aged 15 in 2006 continued on in school education in 2007 and 77% of Australians aged 16 in 2006 continued on in school education in 2007.
APPARENT CONTINUATION RATES 2006-2007
EDUCATION AND TRAINING RELATED PUBLICATIONS
Statistics on expenditure on education by the general government sector, presented on an accrual accounting basis and are taken from the system of Government Finance Statistics (GFS). Latest
data is available in Government Finance Statistics, Education, Australia, 2006-07 (cat.no.5518.0.55.001 ) released 15 April 2008.
Results of the August 2007 National Schools Statistics Collection were released in Schools, Australia, Preliminary 2007 (cat. no. 4220.0) on 4.02.2008 and Schools Australia, 2007 (cat. no. 4221.0) on 29 February 2008. These results include information about students, school affiliation and staff, and new measures of student progression through their schooling. Detailed datacubes and time-series spreadsheets will also be released by July 2008.
The Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey, Summary Results, 2006 (Reissue) (cat. no. 4228.0) was released 9 January 2008. The new publication, Adult Learning, Australia, 2006-07, (cat. no. 4229.0) was released on 2 December 2007.
Measuring Learning in Australia: Concepts and Directions in Early Childhood Learning, 2007 (cat.no.4232.0) was released on 20 December 2007.
Latest data about the educational experience of Australians were released in December 2007 and are available in Education and Work, Australia, 2007 (cat. no. 6227.0), released on 18 December 2007. This survey collected information in May 2007 to describe characteristics of education participation and experience in relation to labour force characteristics.
For a more comprehensive listing of recently released ABS publications related to education and training statistics, please see Education and Training Releases on the Education and Training theme page.
For information about the range of statistical collections or key statistical publications that have at least some education and training content (whether ABS or non-ABS), please see the publication A Directory of Education and Training Statistics, 2007 (ABS cat. no. 1136.0). Links to non-ABS sources of education and training statistics are located via Other Related Sources of Information, on the Education and Training theme page.
Director: Dr Chris Duncan
Phone: (02) 6252 5936
Fax: (02) 6252 7784
Mobile: 0419 412 770
National Centre for Education and Training Statistics
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Locked Bag 10
BELCONNEN ACT 2616
The ABS' National Information and Referral Service is the first point of contact for all your statistical and publication enquiries.
Phone: 1300 135 070
Fax: 1300 135 211
Post: Client Services, ABS, GPO Box 796, Sydney 1041
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and you will be contacted within two working days.
Contacting ABS state and territory Education Statistics Liaison Officers
New South Wales
Ph: (02) 9268 4376
Ph: (03) 9615 7069
Ph: (07) 3222 6488
Ph: (08) 8237 7336
Ph: (08) 9360 5127
Ph: (03) 6222 5902
Ph: (08) 8943 2188
Australian Capital Territory
Ph: (02) 6252 8924
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