2008.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Nature and Content, Australia, 2016  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/08/2015   
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This topic records the highest level of primary or secondary school a person has completed. Information on highest year of schooling completed is an important input into determining the level of highest educational attainment. It is also an important indicator of educational need and disadvantage, and is used for planning and profiling at the small area level.


A question relating to the level of schooling attained was first asked in 1966 when a question on the highest level of schooling was included. In 1976 the question was changed to ask about the age at which people had left school, to overcome reporting problems which occurred due to the lack of standardisation of schooling across state/territories and also different schooling systems used overseas.

Given that standardised schooling in Australia had been in place for a number of years, a question on highest level of school completed was included in the 2001 Census. The question also included the option of answering 'Still at school'.

The Still at school response category was removed for the 2006 Census to enable level of highest educational attainment (which relies on information about highest year of school completed and highest non-school qualification) to be determined for people still at school. People attending secondary school can be identified by cross-classifying responses from this question with answers from the two questions on attendance at an educational institution.

For the 2016 Census, there has been a minor change to the dot point instruction to clarify that people attending school at the time of the Census should mark the last year completed rather than the current year of study.


The following question is from the paper 2016 Census Household Form.

Image: question 27 from the paper 2016 Census Household Form.