Australian Qualifications Framework

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is the comprehensive national framework of qualifications in the school, vocational education and training (VET) and higher education sectors. Qualifications within the AQF include:

  • senior secondary certificates of education issued by state and territory school curriculum, assessment and certification authorities to students meeting requirements on completion of Year 12
  • VET qualifications at various certificate and diploma levels delivered by TAFE and other registered training organisations (RTOs)
  • higher education diplomas and degrees provided through Australian universities and other educational institutions.

absent (in relation to NAPLAN)

Students who did not sit a NAPLAN test because they were not present at school when the test was administered, or were unable to sit the test as a result of an accident or mishap. These students are not awarded a score for the test or tests that were missed.

Australian Government capital expenditure

Amount of capital expenditure funded by the Australian Government.

Australian Government recurrent funding

Income sourced from funding provided by the Australian Government for recurrent purposes.

Australian schools' average

The average of all scores of Australian students in each year level for each NAPLAN test domain. Also called ‘the national average’.

Australian school-based apprenticeships

Australian school-based apprenticeships (ASbA) are reported for the years 2008 and 2009 only. These are for students of 15 years of age (or over) who attend a school-based apprenticeship by a registered training organisation. For years 2010 onwards, refer to school-based apprenticeships and traineeships.


In statistics, ‘average’ (or ‘mean’) of a set of data is a measure of the central tendency of a set. There are different statistical measurements that can be used to depict central tendency of the set. The My School website refers to an average as the middle of a set in two ways:

  • In measuring student performance results in a NAPLAN test, the arithmetic mean is used to represent student group averages. NAPLAN result averages are depicted for student year levels, whole schools, and the national student population. The mean is used because the range of individual students' results is not very large and is fairly evenly spread. An alternate term for ‘mean’ is ‘average’, and this is used for some depictions on the website.
  • In using the index of community socio-educational advantage (ICSEA) calculation to describe school populations on the website, the median ICSEA value for all schools is set at 1,000. This represents the 'middle ground' of educational advantage levels among Australian school students. The median is used because the ICSEA values of all schools are unevenly spread, reflecting a great diversity of student populations across Australia.

Where gain is reported on My School, either the mean (average) or the median can be selected and shown on the graph. For many schools, only a small number of students can be matched over two years. As a result, the median is provided to enable a more complete observation of student performance over time. (Showing only the mean or average for a small number of students may skew results and obscure outcomes.)



The NAPLAN assessment scale is divided into 10 bands, used to report student progress through Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. Band 1 is the lowest band and band 10 is the highest band. A band has a high and low range, it is not a specific point.

below reporting threshold

A school’s results are not reported when there are fewer than five students with NAPLAN results. This rule is applied for reasons of statistical reliability, as well as to protect the privacy of students in small schools. This also applies to socio-educational advantage (SEA) data.


capital expenditure

Expenditure incurred by a school, or on behalf of a school by the school system (where appropriate) to buy or improve assets such as equipment and property.

combined school

A school that has classes from both primary and secondary year levels.

confidence interval

Figures reported on the My School website can be subject to different kinds of error, including measurement and sampling error. A possible size of that error is estimated and used to create a confidence interval around many of the figures. That confidence interval indicates a range that is likely to capture the true value of the figure (i.e. if there were no error) to a specific level of confidence. Unless otherwise specified, that level of confidence is 90 per cent. In other words, one can be 90 per cent confident that the error-free figure would fall within the range of the confidence interval.

course enrolment (VET)

Student enrolment in an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) vocational education and training (VET) qualification or course in a reported year.



Income used to invest in capital infrastructure to improve school facilities and not available to fund recurrent expenditure. It is deducted from total gross income to arrive at net recurrent income.


One of the five learning areas tested in NAPLAN:

  1. reading
  2. writing
  3. spelling
  4. grammar and punctuation
  5. numeracy.


All students should have an opportunity to participate in testing, but parents of eligible students may choose for their child to be exempt. Eligible students include those with a language background other than English, who arrived from overseas less than a year before the NAPLAN tests, and students with significant intellectual disabilities or coexisting conditions.


Exempt students are not included when calculating the average score for a school.


fees, charges and parent contribution

Income received from parents for the delivery of education services to students.

full-time equivalent (FTE) enrolments

A full-time student is one who undertakes a prescribed workload for a full-time student of a particular year level. This may vary between states and territories, and between year levels. A full-time enrolment is counted as 1.0 full-time equivalent (FTE) enrolment. A part-time enrolment is represented as a proportion of the full-time enrolment. For example, a half-time enrolment is 0.5 FTE.

full-time equivalent (FTE) enrolments relating to recurrent income and capital expenditure

The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) enrolments reported in the financial data. This number may be different to the number of FTE enrolments shown on the school profile page for some schools, where, for example, financial data include funding for preschool students who are not included in the student enrolment number.

full-time equivalent (FTE) staff

Total level of staff resources used, where a full-time staff member is counted as 1.0, and part-time staff are represented as a proportion of the full-time load. For example, a staff member who teaches half-time is counted as 0.5 FTE. FTE figures are presented for teaching and for non-teaching staff.



The difference in the same students’ achievement levels between two testing years in the same test domain within a school.

government sector

Schools that are operated by a state or territory government. For the My School website, Australia's schools are divided into two sectors: government and non-government.


income allocated to current capital projects

The amount of gross income received by a school, which has been spent on capital projects in the current year being reported.

income allocated to debt servicing (including principal repayments and interest on loans)

Amount of gross income that has been allocated to service capital loans.

income allocated to future capital projects and diocesan capital funds

Amount of gross income received by a school, which has been allocated to a future capital project.

index of community socio-educational advantage (ICSEA)

The index of community socio-educational advantage (ICSEA) was created by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) specifically to enable meaningful comparisons of National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) test achievement by students in schools across Australia. ICSEA should be interpreted with the assistance of our About ICSEA fact sheet (PDF 294 kb), the video explaining ICSEA and the guide to understanding ICSEA values (PDF 325 kb)


Key factors in students’ family backgrounds (parents’ occupation, school education and non-school education) have an influence on students’ educational outcomes at school. In addition to these student-level factors, research has shown that school-level factors (a school’s geographical location and the proportion of Indigenous students a school caters for) need to be considered when summarising educational advantage or disadvantage at the school level. ICSEA provides a scale that numerically represents the relative magnitude of this influence, and is constructed taking into account both student- and school-level factors.


ICSEA is set at an average of 1000. The lower the ICSEA value, the lower the level of educational advantage of students who go to this school. Similarly, the higher the ICSEA value, the higher the level of educational advantage of students who go to this school. 

Indigenous students

Students of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent who identify themselves as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and are accepted as such by the community in which they live.

industry area

Broad field of education as per the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED).


language background other than English (LBOTE)

If the student or either parent speaks a language other than English at home, they are identified as LBOTE for My School reporting calculations. For 2009–2013, the LBOTE percentage reported on the My School website was derived only from those students who sat NAPLAN tests in a selected calendar year. From 2014 onwards, the LBOTE percentage reported on My School is the proportion of all LBOTE students within a school's population (where available).

local schools

Schools that are located within 80 kilometres of the selected school. On My School, up to 20 schools are listed by distance, with those nearest to the selected school listed first. Schools that are in remote or very remote locations may have fewer local schools.


Distances between schools are calculated by determining the geographic location of each school, in terms of its latitude and longitude, on the basis of its address. 'Nearest' schools can be identified from their latitude and longitude information. The actual distance between schools is calculated by a formula determining the distance between two geographic points.


Consequently, distances between schools are calculated 'as a crow flies', and are not based on distance by road.


The region where the selected school is situated. For 2008–2015, the four possible locations were metropolitan, provincial, remote and very remote. The location is determined according to the Schools Geographic Location Classification Scheme of the former Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA), now the Education Council.


From 2016, as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Remoteness Classification, the five possible locations are:

  • major cities
  • inner regional
  • outer regional
  • remote
  • very remote.

margin of error

The margin of error for a particular statistic of interest is defined as half the size of the confidence interval for that statistic. 


See also confidence interval.

matched students

Students who sat two consecutive NAPLAN tests at the same school and have results at two year levels.



The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual national assessment for all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. All students in these year levels are expected to participate in NAPLAN tests in reading, writing, language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation) and numeracy.


For more information on NAPLAN, visit the NAP website.

NAPLAN average

Average NAPLAN score of students in Australia per year level and test domain.

net recurrent income

Amount of income received by a school from the Australian Government, and state or territory government, plus fees, charges, parent contributions and other private sources, which is available for expenditure relating to the ongoing costs of schools.

new school loans

Amount of capital expenditure funded by capital loan draw-downs in the current year being reported.

non-government sector

For the My School website, Australia's schools are divided into two sectors: government and non-government.


Schools from the non-government sector operate under the authority of state or territory governments but are not operated by government education departments. Schools from the non-government sector may operate as individual schools, in small groups or as a system such as those coordinated by the Catholic Education Commission in each state and territory.

non-teaching staff

A member of a school who supports the school by providing educational services but does not directly teach students.


Non-teaching staff can be engaged at one or more schools and includes specialist support staff, such as counsellors, teachers’ aides and assistants, administrative and clerical staff, building operations, general maintenance and other service staff.


For government schools, this information is provided by a school's state or territory jurisdiction, so the number on My School includes only non-teaching staff employed by the jurisdiction.


other [capital expenditure]

Amount of capital expenditure funded through other private sources, including retained earnings from previous years.

other private sources

Income received from other sources – donations, interest on bank accounts, profits on trading activities and profits from sale of assets. It includes some private income received for capital purposes, and from school and community fundraising activities.


parent information

Parents’ occupation, school education and non-school education data provided by parents to schools. These data are used as the basis for the methodology of calculating a school’s ICSEA value. This information is usually collected at a school level when parents enrol their child at a school.

per-student income

Income received divided by the count of enrolled students.

post-school destinations

A measure of the main activity of students who finished school. Post-school destinations include graduating year students who gained university placements, engaged in TAFE/vocational study or commenced employment. Only senior secondary schools from Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia (government schools only) and ACT (government schools only) report this measure.


This measure has a large degree of variation between states and territories, since data are derived from separate surveys conducted by some of the states and territories, and as such, the data should not be compared outside the state or territory in which the data are collected. The proportion of students that answered ‘Other’ are not reported under 'Post-school destinations'. As a result, percentages may not add up to 100.


Note that Western Australia did not participate in this survey for 2014.


Primary schools start with pre-Year 1 and finish with Year 6 except in South Australia, where they finish with Year 7.


qualification level

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) vocational education and training (VET) qualification level as specified (diploma or higher, Certificate IV, Certificate III, Certificate II, Certificate I, other). 'Other' includes education not classified elsewhere, statements of attainment not identifiable by level, bridging and enabling courses, plus other courses that do not lead to a qualification under the AQF.

qualifications completed

An Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualification is a formal certification that a graduate has achieved as described in the AQF.


On the ‘School profile’ page of My School, the table presented alongside the school ICSEA value shows the distribution of students in the school across four socio-educational advantage (SEA) quarters, representing a scale of relative disadvantage (bottom quarter) through to relative advantage (top quarter). These quarters are calculated using only the student-level factors of educational advantage. SEA quarters give contextual information about the socio-educational composition of students in the school.


No SEA quarter information is displayed when there is insufficient information in the parent background variables to calculate a quartile distribution.


recurrent income

Income received by a school, which is available for expenditure relating to ongoing operating costs of the school (e.g. teaching and non-teaching staff salaries, school operating costs).


school-based apprenticeships and traineeships

Legal and/or contractual arrangements that allow students to undertake a part-time apprenticeship or traineeship while still at school. Students can combine paid part-time employment with training towards a nationally accredited vocational education and training (VET) qualification under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) and other school studies. Depending on their pattern of study in the senior secondary certificate, students may be eligible for an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

school comments

Comments provided on the My School website by each school's principal or authorised representative.


These comments may include information about the school's teaching programs, student population, values or purpose.

school facts

Information provided by various sources. Government school information is provided by the respective state or territory education departments. For non-government schools, this information is provided by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training

school name

The official name of a school as provided to ACARA by the school’s jurisdiction. Note that this official name may differ from a local name of the school.

school sector

On the My School website, school sector is used to differentiate between government, Catholic and independent schools.


Schools may also belong to a school system (e.g. the government school system in each state and territory or the Catholic school system in a particular state) or operate independently of any school system. Additional information on the affiliation of non-government schools may be available in the ‘School comments’ and 'Sector, system or association website' provided by the school.

school type

On the My School website, schools are categorised as primary, secondary, combined or special. Combined schools offer both primary and secondary education. Special purpose schools cater for students with physical or intellectual disabilities, autism or social/emotional disturbance, or who are in custody, on remand or in hospital.


NAPLAN results are reported on My School in scores and bands. The common NAPLAN scale for Years 3–9 ranges from 0 to 1,000 points.


Secondary schooling starts in Year 7 in all states except in South Australia, where it currently starts in Year 8.

senior secondary certificate of education

A senior secondary schooling qualification issued by the curriculum, assessment and certification authority in the relevant state or territory. Senior secondary certificates of education are qualifications within the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

senior secondary outcomes

Senior secondary outcomes reflect the following key areas of student achievement:

  • awarding of senior secondary certificate of education
  • completion of senior secondary school.

Data on senior secondary outcomes are provided to ACARA by state and territory curriculum, assessment and certification authorities.

similar schools

A school’s ICSEA value is used to select a group of up to 60 schools with students from statistically similar backgrounds. Schools with students who have similar levels of educational advantage will have similar ICSEA values, even though schools in their group can be located in other parts of Australia and may have different facilities and resources. These schools are called similar schools.


An average NAPLAN result is calculated for these 60 schools to enable comparison with the selected school’s own NAPLAN results. This comparison can be found in all presentations of NAPLAN results on My School.


Only schools that report NAPLAN results will appear in a similar schools group.

special school

A school designated by its school authority as special or special purpose cater for students:

  • with mental or physical disability or impairment
  • with slow learning ability
  • with social or emotional problems
  • in custody, on remand or in hospital.

standard deviation

A measure of variability in student performances. Approximately 68 per cent of student results are expected to fall between minus one and plus one standard deviation around the mean.

state and territory government capital expenditure

Amount of capital expenditure funded by state and territory governments.

state and territory government recurrent funding

Income sourced from funding provided by state and territory governments for recurrent purposes.

student attendance level

Student attendance level is defined as the proportion of Years 1–10 full-time students, whose attendance rate is greater than, or equal to, 90 per cent over the (reporting) period.


Student attendance level information is collected by schools and reported on My School twice yearly by Indigenous status for Semester 1 (Terms 1 and 2) and Term 3.


For further information, please refer to the National Standards for Student Attendance Data Reporting (PDF 275 kb).

student attendance rate

Student attendance rate is defined as a number of actual full-time equivalent student days attended by full-time students in Years 1–10 as a percentage of the total number of possible student days attended over the (reporting) period.


The student attendance rate information is collected by schools and reported on My School twice yearly by Indigenous status for Semester 1 (Terms 1 and 2) and Term 3.


For further information, refer to the National Standards for Student Attendance Data Reporting (PDF 265 kb).

student background

Student background includes gender, Indigenous status, parent occupation and education level, and language background; this information is collected by schools from students' parents or carers via enrolment forms.

substantially above/below

The average NAPLAN achievement of students at a selected school compared to the average NAPLAN achievement of students from similar schools or from all Australian schools.


If a selected school's mean is ‘above’ or ‘below’ the comparison school's mean by more than half (>0.5) of one standard deviation, the difference is deemed to be substantial for the purposes of the My School website. The terms ‘above’ and ‘below’ represent a difference of between one-fifth and a half (between 0.2 and 0.5) of a standard deviation in magnitude.


teaching staff

Staff who spend the majority of their time in contact with students either in classes or on an individual basis, and are responsible for teaching a school curriculum. Teaching staff include principals, deputy principals and senior teachers who have administrative duties. Teachers’ aides, teachers' assistants and specialist support staff are categorised as non-teaching staff.


On the My School website, the number of teaching staff is the head count of full-time and part-time teaching staff employed by a school for non-government schools; for government schools, it is the number of teaching staff (both full-time and part-time) assigned to a school providing educational services directly to students. For government schools, this information is provided by a school's state or territory jurisdiction, so the number on My School includes only staff employed by the jurisdiction.

total capital expenditure

Total expenditure incurred on capital works and services in a current year being reported.

total enrolments

Number of students registered to attend a selected school as at the school census date on the first Friday in August. This number includes both full-time and part-time enrolments.

total gross income (excluding income from government capital grants)

Amount of recurrent income received by a school from the Australian Government and state and territory governments, plus gross income from fees, charges, parent contributions and other private sources.


vocational education and training (VET)

The standardised national training system that provides skills and knowledge for work and potential certification for participants. School students undertaking VET have access to nationally accredited vocational qualifications under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). VET courses are delivered to school students by registered training organisations including schools, community colleges, TAFE institutes and private colleges. VET may be provided off the job and/or in a workplace environment. Workplace training is a significant part of all apprenticeships and traineeships.



Students withdrawn by their parents from NAPLAN testing.


year range

The years of schooling offered by a school, including the Foundation Year (pre-Year 1) and Years 1–12. The abbreviations used on the My School website for the Foundation Year of schooling are consistent with the terms used by each state and territory.


The Foundation Year is known as Preparatory (Prep) in Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania; Kindergarten (K) in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory; Reception (R) in South Australia; Pre-primary (PP) in Western Australia and Transition (T) in the Northern Territory.


'U' (ungraded) refers to students and/or classes, that cannot readily be allocated to a specific year of schooling. This may include students with special education needs.