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Tables on the Web: Adult Level Glossary

Survey and Population

The tables on adult participation in work-related learning present data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) 2004–05 Adult Education Survey and 2002–03 Adult Education for Work-Related Reasons Survey, both of the National Household Education Surveys (NHES) Program. Because these are surveys of adults, all data in these tables are self-reported and thus reflect the adult's point of view. The survey populations represent civilian, non-institutionalized adults in the U.S., ages 16 or older who were not enrolled in grade 12 or below at the time of the survey (January-April 2005; January-April 2003). Additional data from the 2004–05 NHES adult education survey are available in an NCES report by O'Donnell (2006). For more information on the 2002-03 survey, see the data file user's manual (Hagedorn et al. 2004a, Hagedorn et al. 2004b). Additional tables from this survey are available in NCES reports by O'Donnell (2005), DeBell and Mulligan (2005), and Kleiner et al. (2005). These reports, as well as further information about the NHES surveys (including copies of survey instruments), can be found at the NCES website at http://nces.ed.gov/nhes.

Variable Definitions

The following variables are defined in this glossary. References are also included.

Apprenticeship

Adults were counted as participants in an apprenticeship program if they indicated that, during the past 12 months, they were "in a formal apprenticeship program leading to journeyman status in a skilled trade or craft."

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Certification Status

Participants in formal work-related courses were asked whether they took the course in order "to get or keep a state or industry certificate or license." Those who responded "yes" were asked if they had received their certificate or license or had not yet received it. These questions were used to determine participants' certification status as of the time of the survey. The certification status categories include (1) participants who had been seeking certification or licensure and had received it; (2) participants who had been seeking certification or licensure and who had not yet received it; and (3) all other participants, including both those who had not sought certification or licensure, and those who had sought certification or licensure but had failed to receive it.

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Continuing education credits

Participants in formal work-related courses were asked if they had received, or expect to receive, continuing education units (CEUs) for each work-related course in which they participated. Those who responded "yes" to this question for any work-related course were counted as receiving continuing education credits.

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Distance education

Distance education is defined for survey respondents as a course for which “some or all of the instruction…is provided using some kind of technology, while the person taking the course is at a different place from the instructor. Using technology in a class with an instructor present is not considered to be distance education.” The types of distance education explicitly surveyed are: instruction using video tapes, CDs, or DVDs; instruction by television or radio; instruction over the Internet or World Wide Web; instruction using computer conferencing or video conferencing; instruction by mail, for example, correspondence courses; instruction by telephone or voicemail; and any other type of remote instruction technology.

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Employment status

Respondents who reported that they had not worked at a job for pay or income, including self employment, in the week prior to the interview were coded as "not employed." In 2005, this category was further divided into adults who had been unemployed and looking for work, and adults who had been voluntarily out of the labor force. Employed adults were classified as full-time workers if they reported that they worked 35 hours or more per week, and as part-time workers if they reported that they worked fewer than 35 hours per week.

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Formal work-related course

For the 2005 tables, participation in work-related education was restricted to formal courses taken mainly for work-related reasons. Formal work-related courses include courses or training taken in the 12 months prior to the interview that had an instructor, and that respondents indicated had been taken for work-related reasons. The survey defines these further as: "courses that were not part of a degree or diploma program. This includes work or career-related courses, seminars, training, or workshops, whether or not you had a job when you took them." The 2003 tables also include informal learning activities taken for work-related reasons (see definition below).

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Informal work-related learning activity

For the 2003 tables, participation in work-related education was restricted to formal courses taken mainly for work-related reasons, and informal learning activities taken for work-related reasons. The latter is defined here as informal work-related learning, and includes any informal learning activity related to the respondent's job or career (from an activity list in the survey; see table A22) that was taken in the 12 months prior to the interview.

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Instructional provider

For work-related courses, the instructional provider variable combines the responses to two questions. The first question asked if the course was taught by a college, university, vocational/technical school; elementary, junior high, or high school; business or industry; government agency; professional association/organization; public library; or other provider. The second question asked if the respondent's employer provided the instruction for the course. If the employer provided the instruction, the instructional provider was coded as "employer." Otherwise, the instructional provider was coded based the response given to the first question. Small response categories were combined with "other" for the variable used in these tables.

For apprenticeship programs, respondents were asked in a single question whether the provider was their employer, a labor union, the local or state government, the federal government, or anyone else. Respondents could answer "yes" or "no" to each provider. For example, a respondent could answer that the apprenticeship program was provided by their employer and by a labor union. Due to small response categories, "local and state government" and "federal government" were combined, and "labor union" was added to "other".

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Occupation

Respondent's self-reported occupations are coded into the following 22 categories using the federal government's Standard Occupational Classification (SOC).

1 = executive, administrative, managerial
2 = engineers, surveyors, and architects
3 = natural scientists and mathematicians
4 = social scientists/workers, lawyers
5 = college and university teachers
6 = teachers, except postsecondary
7 = health diagnosing and treating
8 = registered nurses, pharmacists
9 = writers/artists/entertainers/athletes
10 = health technologists and technicians
11 = technologists, except health
12 = marketing and sales occupations
13 = administrative support occupations
14 = service occupations
15 = agricultural, forestry and fishing
16 = mechanics and repair
17 = construction/extractive occupations
18 = precision production occupations
19 = production working occupations
20 = transportation and material moving
21 = handler/equipment cleaners/laborers
22 = miscellaneous occupations

These categories were collapsed as indicated below to create the three occupation group categories used in the tables.

Professional/managerial = 1-10
Sales/service/clerical = 11-14, 22
Trades and labor = 15-21

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Work-related education

The 2003 survey examined adults' participation in education for work-related reasons only. The survey included the following types of activities under the umbrella of "work-related education," if the activity was taken primarily for work-related reasons:

  • College or university degree programs
  • Vocational or technical diploma programs
  • Apprenticeship programs
  • Formal courses
  • Informal learning activities

Most of the tables on this website for 2003 include the last two learning activities listed above. (See glossary definitions for "formal work-related course" and "informal work-related learning activity.") If you are interested in other activities from this list, please refer to the NHES website.

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References

Hagedorn, M., Montaquila, J., Vaden-Kiernan, N., Kim, K, and Chapman, C. (2004a). National Household Education Surveys Program of 2003: Data File User's manual, Volume I (NCES 2004-101). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

Hagedorn, M., Montaquila, J., Vaden-Kiernan, N., Kim, K, and Chapman, C. (2004b). National Household Education Surveys Program of 2003: Data File User's manual, Volume III, Adult Education for Work-Related Reasons Survey (NCES 2004-103). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

Kleiner, B., Carver, P., Hagedorn, M., and Chapman, C. (2005). Participation in Adult Education for Work-Related Reasons: 2002–03 (NCES 2006-040). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

O'Donnell, K. (2005). Adult Education Participation in 2004–05 (NCES 2005-044). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

O'Donnell, K. (2005). Tabular Summary of Adult Education for Work-Related Reasons: 2002–03 (NCES 2005-044). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

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