2901.0 - Census Dictionary, 2006 (Reissue)  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/11/2007  Reissue
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Contents >> Short Definitions and Classifications - 2006 >> Level of Highest Educational Attainment (HEAP) - Characteristics 2006

Level of Highest Educational Attainment

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Image of Question
Quality Statement


Level of highest educational attainment (HEAP) is a new variable for the 2006 Census. It records the highest educational achievement a person has attained. It lists qualifications and other educational attainments regardless of the particular field of study or the type of institution in which the study was undertaken. More Detailed Description

Image of Question

2006 Household Form - Question 29


Applicable to: Persons aged 15 years and over

1. Postgraduate Degree Level

2. Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate Level

3. Bachelor Degree Level

4. Advanced Diploma and Diploma Level

5. Certificate Level

6. School Education Level

Supplementary codes

001 Inadequately described
998 No educational attainment
&&& Not stated
@@@ Not applicable
VVV Overseas visitor

Total number of categories:

one digit level 6
two digit level 13
three digit level 17

More Detailed Description
Quality Statement - Level of Highest Educational Attainment (HEAP)

There are many aspects which can affect the quality of Census data; the following information should be considered when viewing data on Level of Highest Educational Attainment (HEAP).

This is a new variable for the 2006 Census and it is derived from Non-School Qualification:Level of Education (QALLP) and Highest Year of School Completed (HSCP.) In addition, the Qualification indicator question (QALIP), which is question 28 on the household form and asks "Has the person completed any educational qualification (including a trade certificate)?" is used in the derivation.

The following Fact Sheet Level of Highest Educational Attainment (HEAP) provides information on how the data are produced, including the rules to determine which level is higher for the purposes of HEAP.

Figure 1: Qualification Indicator Question

The non-response rate for HEAP in 2006 was 12.6%. Part of this non-response is attributable to the 4.2% of persons (aged 15 years and over) in dwellings which were occupied on Census Night but did not return a Census form. People are imputed into these dwellings together with some demographic characteristics. However the values for HEAP remain not stated.

Table 1: Non-response derivation for HEAP, 2006 Census
Highest Year of Schooling (HSCP)
Qualification Indicator Questiona
Non-School Qualification: Level of Education (QALLP)
Non-response % for (HEAP)
Not stated
Not stated
Not stated
Stated ('Yes" response)b
Stated (Cert I, II or n.f.d.)
Not stated
Stated ('Yes' response)b
Not stated
Stated ('No' response)c
Not applicable
Stated ('Yes' response)b
Not stated
Not stated
Non-response due to imputation people into dwellings (15 years or over):
Total non-response:
a Question 28 on the household form, see Figure 1.
b 'Yes' response, indicating that the person had completed an educational qualification.
c 'No' response, indicating that the person had not completed an educational qualification.

Excluding people who were imputed into dwellings, and those for whom age was imputed, 9.4% of those who did not respond were aged between 15 and 19 years. It is possible that these people did not see the Highest Year of Schooling (HSCP) and non-school qualifications questions as being applicable to themselves because they were still at school. People aged 65 years or over comprised 39% of non-responses. Over one in five (21.5%) of this latter group indicated that they had a need for assistance due to a disability, and more than one in six (17.1%) were enumerated in establishments such as hospitals, nursing homes and other welfare institutions, where the Census form may have been completed by a staff member or carer on their behalf.

Additional sources of information regarding educational qualifications can be found in other ABS publications and associated collections, including:
  • Education and Work, Australia (ABS Cat. No. 6227.0, various years), which presents information from the Survey of Education and Work about the educational experience of people aged 15-64 years, especially in relation to their labour force status
  • Education and Training Experience, Australia (ABS Cat. No. 6278.0, various years), which presents information from the Survey of Education and Training about the education and training experiences of people aged 15-69 years.

Note that the Survey of Education and Work and the Survey of Education and Training generally do not have non-response in the Level of highest non-school qualification and Highest Year Schooling Completed questions due to using an interviewer based collection methodology.

For more information about HEAP please see the Fact Sheet Level of Highest Educational Attainment (HEAP)

The ABS aims to produce high quality data from the Census. To achieve this, extensive effort is put into Census form design, collection procedures, and processing procedures. More details regarding these efforts can be found in:

All are available from the ABS Website.

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