Student background data collection for independent schools
About the collection
ACARA collects student background data (SBD) for all Australian schools to calculate Socio-Educational Advantage (SEA) and Disadvantaged Language Background other than English (DLBOTE).
The Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) is used to report school NAPLAN performance against students with similar backgrounds.
The proportions of students in the lower two quarters of Socio-Educational Advantage are used by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (AGDESE) to calculate the socio‑educational disadvantage loadings. The proportion of DLBOTE students is used to calculate the low English proficiency loading. For further information, please see Section 18 of the Australian Education Regulation 2013.
ICSEA values for schools are increasingly being used by government and non-government organisations for determining which schools qualify for special assistance.
What information is collected
Each students’ date of birth, sex, Indigenous status and language. Each parents’ language, education level and occupation level.
How to submit your student background data
- Download the SBD template
- Extract student data from your system/database into the template
- Request an FTP account
- Upload your school/s completed spreadsheet to ACARA’s secure FTP site
- Check the confirmation email from ACARA detailing if your data has been accepted
Further details for each of these steps can be found in the SBD submission instructions.
Submission due date
The 2021 SBD collection from Independent schools is now open, closing 16 July 2021. Please ensure you have submitted your data well ahead of the deadline to allow time for corrections. Submissions received after the deadline will not be accepted for the AGDESE October payment.
For assistance in preparing the template or submitting the data, please review the frequently asked questions below or contact ACARA via: [email protected].
Frequently asked questions
The student background data collection does not measure economic advantage or disadvantage, but socio-educational advantage, as it correlates highly with student performance and tends to be more stable over time.
In 2020, ACARA will continue to use the ABS standards for Parental Occupation. There are no plans to review these standards in response to the COVID-19 situation, as these measure the skill level of the parental occupation and NOT the salary/ loss of income. Option 8 is only applicable to parents out of work 12 months or more. Therefore, we will likely see an increase in Option 8’s in next year’s SBD collection.
Key inputs to the measure of educational advantage, parental education and occupation correlate highly with student performance and whilst temporary changes to parents’ employment situation will undoubtedly impact on student learning, these attributes are unlikely to impact on the student’s long term aptitude. Therefore ACARA is more interested in collecting Student Background Data under normal circumstances, rather than allowing economic changes to vary the measure of educational advantage.
So, if a parent had paid work until January, but lost their job in February due to COVID-19 and are currently unemployed (so has had a job in the last 12 months / retired in the last 12 months) please use the person’s last occupation. If the person has not been in paid work in the last 12 months, enter ‘8’ for occupation.
ACARA encourages schools to update parental attributes as frequently as practical, so as to provide the best possible estimates of socio-educational advantage for purposes of school funding and tracking student performance, but acknowledges that annual updating of parental attributes puts a significant burden on schools.
Yes. All students in all grades must be included in the template to ensure that the data reflect the entire school community.
If immediately prior to coming to Australia, a student was enrolled and active at a school in their own (or another) country and they are in Australia for a 12-month (or longer) period, then they should be included as a regular student.
Records for such students should be included in the submission without the student and parent attributes, only the school ID, school name, calendar year, student ID and grade of enrolment. All other fields can remain unknown or missing. The modelling process will allow for missing information.
“Jurisdiction Student ID” is the school or system student ID that uniquely identifies a student. It can be the student ID issued by the school or a system-level identifier. However it must uniquely identify a student at each school or campus (i.e. only one instance of a Student ID per ACARA_SML_ID). If you simply do not have such an identifier, a row number from 1 to the total count of students can be used. However, if you need to correct any data after the submission to ACARA has been made, it will be necessary to link this number to your database of students.
Parental attributes are collected to assess the impact of each student’s natural parents on learning outcomes. Therefore, ACARA’s preference is to receive the background data of the deceased parent(s). If the natural parents’ data are not available, the background data of the custodial guardian(s) should be provided. In instances where this is also unavailable, please enter the not stated/unknown/missing codes for the relevant fields when completing the template.
The parental background data are collected to assess the impact of each student’s natural parents on learning outcomes. Therefore, ACARA’s preference is to receive the background data of the deceased parent(s). If the natural parents’ data are not available, the background data of the custodial guardian(s) should be provided. In instances where this is also unavailable, please enter the not stated/unknown/missing codes for the relevant fields when completing the template.
Government and Catholic schools provide this same information through their central offices.
In some states/territories, year one minus two students form a separate stream that is funded by both State and Commonwealth departments as “child care” and the enrolments are not part of the school.
In these cases, year one minus two students should not be included in the student background data if they are not enrolled at the school.
However, in some schools in WA particularly, these students are state-funded and regarded as part of the school community as the age of compulsory schooling is five years and six months.
Consequently the socio-educational status of the school is better reflected by the inclusion of these students.
Therefore, year one minus two students should be included in the student background data under this particular circumstance.
For information on how to code these years in the template, please refer to the DataDictionary Tab.
When collecting student information at the time of enrolment or during their schooling, schools and school systems must comply with the Privacy legislation under which they operate.
The collection of this information should be accompanied by a privacy notice advising parents of the collection, storage, use and disclosure of personal information about them and their children.
If data is not available for one parent and this is difficult to obtain, the socio-educational model uses whatever data is available to produce estimates of the count of students in each SEA quarter.
However, having the most complete set of data will more accurately reflect the socio-educational background of students at the school, which is why ACARA request that every effort is made to provide complete data.