Data return and coding for 2012

This page contains key information regarding submission and processing of AGS responses for 2012 under the following headings:

  • Overview
  • Key dates
  • Key documents


Coding and data return (also referred to as data processing) is the process of converting the responses received from graduates into institutional and national data files. It involves institutions and GCA. Data processing for the AGS consists of:

  • coding of verbatim answers to key questions
  • imputation of certain demographic and contextual information
  • data entry (including key punching and computer scanning)
  • data cleaning and tidying
  • merging, building and validation of data files.

GCA processes all data for some institutions. The remainder of institutions prepare their data in-house in line with GCA specifications and supply a single data file to GCA. GCA spends time validating each institution’s raw file and building the national data file. Data processing involves significant iterative contact between GCA and institutions and includes the preparation and review of a series of frequency and destination tables.

Key dates

Uncoded and partly coded forms and online responses Friday 7 September 2012
Coded forms and online responses Friday 14 September 2012
Data file (note: one file required, not separate files) Friday 21 September 2012

When submitting responses or data, each institution must also include a completed packing slip. Each submission requires its own packing slip.

Early returns

There is no restriction on how early institutions may submit data to GCA for processing. Institutions are encouraged to submit forms from June onwards. Institutions with a large number of responses should stagger their dispatches rather than send them all on the final deadline to avoid a bottleneck in processing that may delay finalisation of the data file. Note that returns should be sent in batches of at least 200 (less if your total responses are unlikely to exceed 200) and that each batch should be sorted by field of education.

Key documents

All coding and data processing documents (with the exception of Australian Bureau of Statistics documents) are available to download below. ABS documents are available on the ABS website.

AGS 2012 variables:
This is an absolutely essential file for any AGS survey manger. This includes GCA’s data dictionary (a listing of all the variables in the AGS data file with an explanation of each and their values). It also includes our compact spreadsheet versions of all code frames plus alphabetical lists and common ANZSIC-ANZSCO combinations, which make handy printouts for coders.

Note that the common ANZSIC-ANZSCO combinations is based on the most common codes at the national level and what we have found useful in our coding experience at GCA. We recommend adapting these lists for your own purposes, as you will have a different collection of codes for the occupations and industries of your graduates.

AGS 2012 – Variables – Apr 2012 010412

Data return indication form: This form is filled out and submitted to GCA to advise of how you will be submitting your data to GCA and any data processing requirements (e.g. whether you are returning a completed data file or uncoded forms for processing). If processing with GCA, indicate which information on the form you require to be entered (other than the mandatory data).

AGS 2012 Data Return Indication

Packing slip: When submitting data to GCA, this form needs to be filled out and submitted with each file or ‘consignment’ of questionnaires.

AGS 2012 Packing Slip

Method assurance: This form should be completed and returned when all data or forms are submitted to GCA.

AGS 2012 method assurance

Coding section of manual: The manual lists all steps for processing and returning data to GCA. It also includes a section with useful notes on coding and specific help for the more difficult and larger code frames.

AGS 2012 – Manual – April 2012 010412

Colour coding guide: This colour document is useful for manual data entry and as a visual aide to help you to understand the data file. It shows the variable name associated with each question on the paper form, which data should be entered and the values for each response or the code frame that should be referred to. There is a version for the GDS+CEQ and GDS+PREQ:

AGS 2012 coding and data entry aids (zip)

Instructions for coders: This document is a step-by-step guide for new coders to sorting and coding hard-copy forms. It is adapted from GCA’s internal coding instructions and it refers to other GCA files and documents (such as AGS variables and the colour coding guide).

Instructions for coders

Employer name dictionary: This Excel spreadsheet is intended as an additional reference resource for use when dealing with common or some difficult employers. It includes a subset of employer names, along with the corresponding recommended industry code or course of action to ascertain this (according to GCA).

Employer name dictionary

oAGS Coding instructions: These are instructions specific to coding online AGS data on a spreadsheet.

2009 oAGS coding instructions

Overview of data processing at GCA: This document is provided for the purpose of transparency; it explains the treatment of AGS responses received by GCA as they are processed and compiled into a national file. It is not a necessary document for institutional survey managers to have read, but may provide some guidance for new survey managers at larger institutions who are setting up processing procedures.

Overview of AGS data processing at GCA

Full ABS code frames for education, industry and occupation:

Australian Bureau of Statistics full PDF of the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED)

Australian Bureau of Statistics full PDF of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC)

Australian Bureau of Statistics full PDF of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO)