INFORMATION PAPER: MEASURING LEARNING IN AUSTRALIA: CONCEPTS AND DIRECTIONS IN EARLY CHILDHOOD LEARNING
National Centre for Education and Training Statistics
Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra
Telephone (02) 6252 7798
The ABS Information Paper Concepts and Directions in Early Childhood Learning outlines a project to develop quality statistics in early childhood learning, focussing on children aged 0 to 8 years (which can be further divided into age cohorts of 0-2, 3-5 and 6-8 years); the educational and developmental services available for these children; and the providers of these services. The paper proposes a suite of ideal early childhood learning measures and data development activities which would be needed in order to provide relevant and quality data for comparable analysis across states and territories. Descriptions and evaluations of currently reported indicators and data collections are included as well as examples of data. The paper provides an opportunity for input and further discussion among researchers and the community.
The paper has five chapters: Introduction, Early childhood research, Information needs, Current indicators, and Proposed measures. Chapter 4, Current indicators, assesses 25 existing measures against a consistent set of criteria. Chapter 5, Proposed measures, groups a suite of 32 possible measures under the elements of the Framework for Education and Training Statistics (cat. no. 4213.0), and identifies the main source for each measure. Information needs on early childhood learning were organised under the eight elements of the Framework: Participants, Non-participants, Providers, Resources, Activities, Outputs and Outcomes, and Context.
The goal, 'improve early childhood education information', was an agreed priority in the 2004 Information Development Plan (IDP) for education and training statistics. Noting that 'The early childhood area of statistics is not well served', the IDP identified three major sets of data deficiencies: gaps in available data; inconsistent use of standards and definitions; and lack of national agreement on early childhood indicators. However, the 2005 IDP review noted significant progress towards meeting some early childhood education information needs.
Date of birth
Cultural and language characteristics
Main language spoken at home
Main language other than English spoken at home
First language spoken
Languages spoken at home
Proficiency in spoken English
Country of birth of person
Year of arrival in Australia
Highest Year of school completed
Level of highest non-school completion
Year non-school qualification completed
Main field of highest non-school qualification
Level of highest educational attainment
Main field of highest educational attainment
Information Paper: Measuring Learning in Australia: Concepts and Directions in Early Childhood Learning (ABS cat. no. 4232.0) was released 20 December 2007 and is available electronically from the ABS web site.