Level of Education

Latest release
Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED)
Reference period
2001
Released
22/08/2001
Next release Unknown
First release

Classification structure

Broad levels

Broad levels are:

  • the broadest categories of the classification;
  • denoted by 1-digit codes; and
  • distinguished from each other on the basis of theoretical/vocational orientation and entry requirements.

In general the relationship between the broad levels is ordinal, in the sense that educational activities in Broad Level 1 are higher than those in Broad Level 2 and so forth. This is not the case in all instances, however; in particular educational activities in Broad Level 5 Certificate Level may be of an equal, higher or lower level than those classified in Broad Level 6 Secondary Education.

There are 9 broad levels.

Narrow levels

Narrow levels are:

  • subdivisions of the broad levels;
  • denoted by 2-digit codes - the relevant broad level code plus an additional digit; and
  • distinguished from other narrow levels in the same broad level on the basis of the entry requirements and, where necessary, a stricter application of the theoretical/vocational orientation criterion.

There are 15 narrow levels.

Detailed levels

Detailed levels are:

  • subdivisions of the narrow levels;
  • denoted by 3-digit codes - the relevant narrow level code plus an additional digit; and
  • distinguished from other detailed levels in the same narrow level on the basis of stricter application of the entry requirements, theoretical/vocational orientation and, where necessary, the notional duration.

The detailed level also meets particular statistical needs by differentiating educational activity based on research rather than coursework, professional specialist qualifications, statements of attainment, and bridging and enabling courses.

There are 64 detailed levels.

Residual categories

The codes of “9”, “99” and “999” are residual codes for use for those educational activities which cannot be classified to a particular level of education.

Supplementary codes

Supplementary codes are used to process inadequately described responses in statistical collections. These codes are of two types:

  • three digit codes ending in one or two zeros; and
  • three digit codes commencing with one or two zeros, or codes with three zeros.

Codes ending in zero are described as “not further defined” (n.f.d.) and are used to code responses which cannot be coded to any detailed level in the classification but can be coded to a higher level of the classification structure.

For example, responses which cannot be identified as relating directly to a particular level category, but which are known to be within the range of levels within a particular broad level category are coded to that broad level. Such responses are allocated an “n.f.d.” code consisting of the one-digit code of the broad level followed by “00”. For instance, the response “Certificate” does not contain sufficient information to be coded directly to any particular detailed level category but can be coded to Broad Level 5 Certificate Level, which encompasses certificates. It is thus allocated the code 500 Certificate Level, n.f.d.

Codes commencing with zero are used to process responses which do not provide sufficient information to be coded to any level of the structure and when there is no level of education information given. Other codes commencing with zero may be defined by users to facilitate the processing and storage of data, when data sets coded to ASCED contain records for entities outside the scope of ASCED. For example, these codes might be used for educational activities that are excluded from ASCED (e.g. hobby/recreational programmes).

Format of the definitions

This publication contains definitions for the broad, narrow, and detailed levels. The format of the definitions may vary slightly between the hierarchical levels, but all contain similar elements.

The features of the broad, narrow and detailed level definitions for Level of Education are:

  • a lead statement which defines the category and sets the boundaries of the category;
  • information on the theoretical/vocational orientation;
  • information on the minimum entry requirements;
  • information on the notional duration;
  • a list of lower level categories contained in the category (not applicable for detailed level); and. a list of inclusions or exclusions (as necessary).

Profile of the Level of Education structure

The structure of ASCED Level of Education has three levels:

  • broad level;
  • narrow level; and
  • detailed level.

The following is an illustration of a representative part of the Level of Education structure:

Illustration of a representative part of the Level of Education structure.

Illustration of a representative part of the Level of Education structure.

Illustration of a representative part of the Level of Education structure.

A tree diagram that shows how the structure of the ASCED Level of Education is split into three levels, broad field; narrow field; and detailed field.

The top level is broad level 2 Graduate diploma and graduate certificate level, there are 9 broad levels. Broad levels are described as: the broadest level of the classification; denoted by 1-digit codes; and distinguished from each other on the basis of theoretical/vocational orientation and entry requirements.
Broad level 2 splits into narrow level 21 Graduate diploma level and narrow level 22 Graduate certificate level.
There are 15 narrow levels. Narrow levels are described as: subdivisions of the broad levels; denoted by 2-digit codes – the relevant broad level code plus an additional digit; and distinguished from other narrow levels in the same broad level on the basis of entry requirements and, where necessary, a stricter application of the theoretical/vocational orientation criterion.

Narrow level 21 splits into detailed level 211 Graduate diploma and detailed level 214 Statement of attainment at graduate diploma level.
There are 64 detailed levels. Detailed levels are described as subdivisions of the narrow levels; denoted by 3-digit codes – the relevant narrow level code plus an additional digit; and distinguished from other detailed levels in the same narrow level on the basis of stricter application of the entry requirements, theoretical/vocational orientation and, where necessary, the notional duration.

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