Qualifications: post-school qualification level of attainment, field of study, and location (information about this variable and its quality)

Description

Qualification

A qualification is a formally recognised award for educational or training attainment. Formal recognition means that the qualification is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority or any formally recognised existing approval body in New Zealand or overseas, or their predecessors or any previous approval body.

A qualification is defined as requiring full-time equivalent study of three months or more. Study time is an estimate of the typical time it takes a learner to achieve the learning outcomes of the qualification. This includes direct contact time with teachers and trainers, as well as time spent in studying, assignments, and assessment.

Post-school qualification Post-school qualification is the highest qualification a person aged 15 years and over has gained over and above any school qualifications. Included are qualifications awarded by educational and training institutions, as well as those gained from on-the-job training. Post-school qualification data is produced by level of attainment and by field of study.

In 2018, information is collected on whether the post-school qualification was gained in New Zealand or overseas.

Statistics

Representation

Variable Details

Other Variable Information

Priority level

Priority level 2

We assign a priority level to all census variables: Priority 1, 2, or 3 (with 1 being highest and 3 being the lowest priority).

Priority 2 variables cover key subject populations that are important for policy development, evaluation, or monitoring. These variables are given second priority in terms of quality, time, and resources across all phases of a census.

The census priority level for post-school qualification remains the same as 2013.

Quality Management Strategy and the Information by variable for qualifications (2013) have more information on the priority rating.

Overall quality rating for 2018 Census

Post-school qualification level: Moderate quality

Post-school field of study: Poor quality

Post-school qualification in New Zealand or overseas indicator: Poor quality

Data quality processes section below has more detail on the rating for this variable.

The External Data Quality Panel has provided an independent assessment of the quality of the Post-school qualification level variable and has rated it as moderate/poor. 2018 Census External Data Quality Panel: Assessment of Variables has more information.

Subject population

Census usually resident population aged 15 years and over

‘Subject population’ means the people, families, households, or dwellings to whom the variable applies.

How this data is classified

Post-school qualification level

Census post school qualification level of attainmentV1.0.0

Post-school qualification is a flat classification with the following categories:

000 No post-school qualification

003 Level 1, 2 or 3 certificate

004 Level 4 certificate

005 Level 5 diploma

006 Level 6 diploma

007 Bachelor degree and level 7 qualification

008 Post-graduate and honours degrees

009 Masters degree

010 Doctorate degree

333 Level not given (but subject given)

999 Not elsewhere included

‘Not elsewhere included’ contains the residual categories ‘response unidentifiable’ and ‘not stated’

Post-school qualification field of study

Census post-school qualification field of study 2V3.0.0

Post-school field of study is a hierarchical classification with four levels. Level 1 (broad fields), contains 14 categories including one residual category. Level 2 contains 18 categories including 5 residual categories. Level 3 (narrow fields) contains 85 categories including 5 residual categories. Level 4 (detailed fields) contains 447 categories including 5 residual categories. Level 1 is listed below:

000 No post-school qualification

001 Natural and physical sciences

002 Information technology

003 Engineering and related technologies

004 Architecture and building

005 Agriculture, environmental, and related studies

006 Health

007 Education

008 Management and commerce

009 Society and culture

010 Creative arts

011 Food, hospitality, and personal services

033 Field of study not given (although level of attainment given)

099 Not elsewhere included

‘Not elsewhere included’ contains the residual categories, including ‘response unidentifiable’ and ‘not stated’

Post-school qualification in New Zealand or overseas indicator

Census post-school qualification in New Zealand indicatorV2.0.0

Indicates whether the highest qualification was gained in New Zealand or overseas:

00 No post-school qualification

01 New Zealand

02 Overseas

99 Not elsewhere included

‘Not elsewhere included’ contains the residual categories ‘response unidentifiable’ and ‘not stated’.

The classification of post-school qualification level and field in the 2018 Census is consistent with the classification used in the 2013 and 2006 Censuses. Post-school qualification in New Zealand indicator is a new variable in the 2018 Census.

The Standards and Classifications page provides background information on classifications and standards.

Question format

Post-school qualification data is derived from four questions on the individual form (questions 30, 31, and 32 on the paper form). A new question (question 33 on the paper form) has also been added to collect information on whether the post-school qualification was gained overseas or in New Zealand.

Stats NZ Store House has samples for both the individual and dwelling paper forms.

There are three questionnaire changes to this variable since the 2013 Census:

  • in 2018, the level of post-school qualification (question 31) had a check list of NZQA levels of qualification and a free text ‘other qualification’ field. In 2013, respondents were asked to write the name of their qualification in a free text box.
  • in 2018, the main subject of highest post-school qualification field is collected in a free text field in a separate question 32. In 2013, this information was collected in a text box in the same question as for the highest post-school qualification level.
  • in 2018, a new tick box question was added to indicate whether the qualification was gained overseas or in New Zealand.

There were differences in the way a person could respond to the post-school qualification questions between the modes of collection (paper and online form).

On the online individual form:

  • the highest qualification questions had as-you-type functionality which helped respondents provide valid responses in the text fields for ‘Other qualification’, and subject of qualification (referred to as ‘field of study’)
  • built-in routing functionality directed individuals to the appropriate questions. Those under 15 and overseas visitors could not answer the qualifications questions. Those answering yes to question 30 ‘Apart from secondary school qualifications, do you have another completed qualification?’, were routed to question 31 on ‘What is your highest qualification?’, while those answering no were routed past the three highest qualification questions.
  • only one response could be chosen from the options presented.

On the paper individual form:

  • responses outside the valid range were possible
  • multiple responses and inconsistent responses to single answer questions were possible
  • edits were applied to reduce multiple or inconsistent responses to a single valid response where possible. These were prioritised by the highest qualification stated. If a single, valid response was unable to be determined, these responses were coded to ‘response unidentifiable’.

How this data is used

Outside Stats NZ

  • To measure the impact of educational reforms on skill levels.
  • To track long-term changes in the levels of qualification in the general population.
  • To identify potential skill gaps in the labour market and plan education and training programmes.
  • To identify mismatches in the economy between people’s skills and occupations.
  • Contributes to the measurement and analysis of human capital.

Within Stats NZ

  • To examine the link between education and income, occupation, sex and various other census variables.
  • Labour Market and Household Statistics use this data in both reference and analytical reports on various topics.
  • Post-school qualification data is used in analysing the different characteristics of those employed in the public and private sectors, along with sex, age, status in employment, industry, occupation, income, full-time/part-time status, hours of work, country of birth and region.

2018 data sources

We used alternative data sources for missing census responses and responses that could not be classified or did not provide the type of information asked for. Where possible, we used responses from the 2013 Census, administrative data from the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI), or imputation.

The tables below shows the breakdown of the various data sources used for post-school qualification – level, field of study, and post-school qualification in New Zealand or overseas indicator.

2018 Post-school level of qualification – census usually resident population aged 15 years and over
Source Percent
Response from 2018 Census 80.7 percent
2013 Census data 6.5 percent
Administrative data 5.9 percent
Statistical imputation 0.0 percent
No information 7.0 percent
Total 100 percent
Due to rounding, individual figures may not always sum to the stated total(s)  
2018 Post-school field of study – census usually resident population aged 15 years and over
Source Percent
Response from 2018 Census 83.6 percent
2013 Census data 4.3 percent
Administrative data 5.1 percent
Statistical imputation 0.0 percent
No information 7.0 percent
Total 100 percent
Due to rounding, individual figures may not always sum to the stated total(s)  
2018 Post-school qualification gained in New Zealand or overseas indicator –
census usually resident population aged 15 years and over
Source Percent
Response from 2018 Census 85.7 percent
2013 Census data 0.0 percent
Administrative data 5.1 percent
Statistical imputation 0.0 percent
No information 9.2 percent
Total 100 percent
Due to rounding, individual figures may not always sum to the stated total(s)  

The ‘no information’ percentage is where we were not able to source post-school qualification data for a person in the subject population.

Administrative data sources

Data from the following administrative source was used:

  • information on course completions, TEC IT learners, targeted training, and student qualifications – Ministry of Education.

Please note that when examining post-school qualification data for specific population groups within the subject population, the percentage that is from 2013 Census data and administrative data may differ from that for the overall subject population.

Missing and residual responses

‘No information’ in the data sources tables above is the percentage of the subject population coded to ‘not stated’. In previous censuses, non-response was the percentage of the subject population coded to ‘not stated.’

In 2018, the percentage of ‘not stated’ is lower than previous censuses due to the use of the additional data sources described above.

Level of attainment and field of study – percentage of ‘not stated’ for the census usually resident population aged 15 years and over:

  • 2018: 7.0 percent
  • 2013: 10.3 percent
  • 2006: 9.4 percent.

Post-school qualification gained New Zealand or overseas – percentage of ‘not stated’ for the census usually resident population aged 15 years and over:

  • 2018: 9.2 percent.

Responses that could not be classified or did not provide the type of information asked for such as ‘response unidentifiable’ and ‘response outside scope’ remain in the data, where we have been unable to find information from another source. In the tables above, these residuals are included in the ‘Response from 2018 Census’ percentage.

For output purposes, these residual category responses are grouped with ‘not stated’ and are classified as ‘Not elsewhere included’.

Level of attainment – percentage of ‘not elsewhere included’ for the census usually resident population aged 15 years and over:

  • 2018: 7.1 percent
  • 2013: 13.1 percent
  • 2006: 12.0 percent.

Field of study – percentage of ‘not elsewhere included’ for the census usually resident population aged 15 years and over:

  • 2018: 7.1 percent
  • 2013: 12.5 percent
  • 2006: 12.0 percent.

Post-school qualification gained New Zealand or overseas – percentage of ‘not elsewhere included’ for the census usually resident population aged 15 years and over:

  • 2018: 9.3 percent.

2013 Census data user guide provides more information about non-response in the 2013 Census.

Data quality processes

Data was evaluated to assess whether it meets quality standards and is suitable for use.

Three quality metrics contributed to the overall quality rating:

  • data sources and coverage
  • consistency and coherence
  • data quality.

The lowest rated metric determines the overall quality rating.

Data quality assurance for 2018 Census provides more information on the quality rating scale.

The quality of each of the three post-school variables is presented individually below.

Post-school qualification level overall quality rating: Moderate quality

Data sources and coverage: Moderate quality

We have assessed the quality of all the data sources that contribute to the output for the variable. To calculate a data sources and coverage quality score for a variable, each data source is rated and multiplied by the proportion it contributes to the total output.

The rating for a valid census response is defined as 1.00. Ratings for other sources are the best estimates available of their quality relative to a census response. Each source that contributes to the output for that variable is then multiplied by the proportion it contributes to the total output. The total score then determines the metric rating according to the following range:

  • 98–100 = very high
  • 95–<98 = high
  • 90–<95 = moderate
  • 75–<90 = poor
  • <75 = very poor.

Admin data was moderately comparable to census forms while data sourced through 2013 census responses was mostly comparable to census forms. The proportion and comparability of data from alternative sources along with the percentage of data remaining as “no information” contributed to the score of 0.90, determining the moderate quality rating.

Quality rating calculation table for the sources of post school qualification level data – 2018 census usually resident population aged 15 years and over
Source Rating Percent of total Score contribution
2018 Census form 1.00 80.65 0.81
2013 Census 0.86 6.50 0.06
Admin data 0.56 5.88 0.03
No Information 0.00 6.97 0.00
Total 100.00 0.90
Due to rounding, individual figures may not always sum to the stated total(s) or score contributions.      

Consistency and coherence: Moderate quality

Post-school qualification level data is mostly consistent with expectations across consistency checks. There is an overall difference in the data compared with expectations and benchmarks that can be explained through a combination of real-world change, incorporation of other sources of data, or a change in how the variable has been collected.

Issues to note for post-school qualification level are:

  • level 1, 2, and 3 certificates were greater than previous censuses. This may be partly due to secondary school level 1, 2, and 3 qualifications from the Ministry of Education data being categorised as post school qualifications.
  • there was a large increase in post-graduate diplomas which may be partly explained by a change to the questionnaire format (respondents selecting their highest qualification from a check box list instead of entering it into free text box) and partly explained by real world changes.

Data quality: Moderate quality

Post-school qualification level data has various data quality issues involving several categories or aspects of the data, or an entire level of a hierarchical classification. The data quality issues could include problems with the classification or coding of data, such as vague responses resulting in coding issues, or responses that cannot be coded to a specific (non-residual) category, thereby reducing the amount of useful, meaningful data available for analysis. The use of other data sources may be contributing to these issues.

Issues to note:

  • the use of the 2013 data to replace missing responses may not be as accurate for younger people, as their highest qualification level is more likely to have changed since the 2013 census than older people.

Post-school field of study overall quality rating: Poor quality

Data sources and coverage: Poor quality

2013 Census data for field of study was moderately comparable to census forms while admin data sourced was of minimal comparability to census forms. The proportion and comparability of data from alternative sources along with the percentage of data remaining as ‘no information’ contributed to the score of 0.86, determining the poor quality rating.

Quality rating calculation table for the sources of post school qualification field data –
2018 census usually resident population aged 15 years and over
Source Rating Percent of total Score contribution
2018 Census form 1.00 83.61 0.84
2013 Census 0.57 4.30 0.02
No Information 0.00 6.97 0.00
Total 100.00 0.86
Due to rounding, individual figures may not always sum to the stated total(s) or score contributions.      

Consistency and coherence: Moderate quality

Post-school qualification field data is mostly consistent with expectations across consistency checks. There is an overall difference in the data compared with expectations and benchmarks that can be explained through a combination of real-world change, incorporation of other sources of data, or a change in how the variable has been collected.

Issues to note for post-school qualification field of study:

  • the category of ‘field of study not given (although level of attainment given)’ has increased from previous censuses.

Data quality: Moderate quality

Data has various data quality issues involving several categories or aspects of the data. The data quality issues could include problems with the classification or coding of data, such as vague responses resulting in coding issues, or responses that cannot be coded to a specific (non-residual) category, thereby reducing the amount of useful, meaningful data available for analysis. The use of other data sources may be contributing to these issues.

Data quality issues to note:

  • at level 1 of the classification, the notable data quality issue is the high number of ‘field of study not given (although level of attainment given)’ responses
  • caution is advised when creating cross-tabulations at lower levels of the classification due to the proportion of missing and residual responses.

Post-school qualification in New Zealand or overseas indicator overall quality rating: Poor quality

Data sources and coverage: Poor quality

Admin data was moderately comparable to census forms. The proportion and comparability of data from alternative sources along with the percentage of data remaining as ‘no information’ contributed to the score of 0.89, determining the poor quality rating.

Quality rating calculation table for the sources of post school qualification gained in New Zealand
or overseas indicator – 2018 census usually resident population aged 15 years and over
Source Rating Percent of total Score contribution
2018 Census form 1.00 85.69 0.86
Admin data 0.56 5.13 0.03
No Information 0.00 9.18 0.00
Total 100.00 0.89
Due to rounding, individual figures may not always sum to the stated total(s) or score contributions.      

Consistency and coherence: N/A

This is a new variable in the 2018 census, with no available measures for consistency checks, and therefore cannot be compared to previous censuses.

Data quality: Moderate quality

Data has various data quality issues involving several categories or aspects of the data. The data quality issues could include problems with the classification or coding of data, such as vague responses resulting in coding issues, or responses that cannot be coded to a specific (non-residual) category, thereby reducing the amount of useful, meaningful data available for analysis. The use of other data sources may be contributing to these issues.

Data quality issues to note:

  • there are small inconsistencies when post-school qualification level is cross-tabbed with location the qualification was gained, for example, instances where ‘no post-school qualifications’ were indicated as gained overseas.

Recommendations for use and further information

While administrative and 2013 census data have been used to produce the 2018 Census data, and the overall quality of the data is moderate for post-school level, and poor for post-school field of study and New Zealand or overseas indicator, this data can be compared with 2006 and 2013 data using caution.

When using this data you should be aware that:

  • the 2013 question on highest qualification was a written-in response and some generic responses like 'Diploma' or 'Certificate' could not be coded easily. Directly comparing 2013 Census Level 5 and 6 highest qualification data with other census years is not recommended. The Level 5 and 6 categories should be aggregated prior to any comparison.
  • data has been checked to a regional council level. Some variation is possible at geographies below the national level.
  • level 1, 2, and 3 certificates were greater than previous censuses. This may be partly due to secondary school level 1, 2, and 3 qualifications from the Ministry of Education data being categorised as post-school qualifications.
  • caution is recommended when cross-tabulating field of study below level 1 of the classification
  • the change in question format from text to tick box for post-school qualification level has resulted in an increase in certain categories (like post-graduate certificates and diplomas). This may mean these categories are not comparable with 2013 and 2006.

Comparisons with other data sources

Although surveys and sources other than the census collect post-school qualification data, data users are advised to familiarise themselves with the strengths and limitations of the sources before use.

Key considerations when comparing post school qualification information from the 2018 Census with other sources include:

  • census is a key source of information on qualifications for small areas and small populations. Many other sources do not provide detail at this level.
  • census aims to be a national count of all individuals in a population while other sources such as the Household Economic Survey (HES), Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS), and General Social Survey (GSS) measuring this variable are only based upon a sample of the population.

Contact our Information Centre for further information about using this variable.

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