Skills Toward Employment and Productivity (Wave 1)
Other Household Survey
The STEP project consists of Household Surveys collection and Employer Surveys collection.
These surveys are part of the STEP Household Surveys collection.
So far, two waves have been implemented in 12 countries. The third wave is under preparation.
The first wave started in September 2011 and was completed in December 2013. Wave 1 countries are: Bolivia, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Lao PDR, Vietnam, the Yunnan Province in China, Ghana, and Ukraine.
The second wave started in August 2012 and was completed in June 2014. Wave 2 countries are: Armenia, Georgia, Macedonia, and Kenya.
The STEP (Skills Toward Employment and Productivity) Measurement program is the first ever initiative to generate internationally comparable data on skills available in developing countries. The program implements standardized surveys to gather information on the supply and distribution of skills and the demand for skills in labor market of low-income countries.
The uniquely-designed Household Survey includes modules that measure the cognitive skills (reading, writing and numeracy), socio-emotional skills (personality, behavior and preferences) and job-specific skills (subset of transversal skills with direct job relevance) of a representative sample of adults aged 15 to 64 living in urban areas, whether they work or not. The cognitive skills module also incorporates a direct assessment of reading literacy based on the Survey of Adults Skills instruments. Modules also gather information about family, health and language.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
The units of analysis are the individual respondents and households. A household roster is undertaken at the start of the survey and the individual respondent is randomly selected among all household members aged 15 to 64 included. The random selection process was designed by the STEP team and compliance with the procedure is carefully monitored during fieldwork.
Version 02, edited anonymous datasets for public distribution.
Version 01 was published in June 2014, but now is replaced with v02.
The difference between v02 and v01 datasets:
- Changes made to all STEP countries:
1) The literacy variables had incorrect labelling, which has now been fixed
2) The 'emp' variable has been cleaned
3) The 'write_dif' variable has been corrected
4) All monetary variables (identifiable by '_usd') have been converted to PPP dollars
The scope of the study includes:
- household demographic characteristics
- dwelling characteristics
- education and training
- job skill requirements
- personality, behavior and preferences
- language and family background
- reading literacy test assessment
The STEP target population is the urban population aged 15 to 64 included. Lao PDR sampled both urban and rural areas (with road) of the country.
Areas are classified as rural or urban based on each country's official definition.
The STEP target population is the population aged 15 to 64 included, living in urban areas, as defined by each country's statistical office.
Are excluded from the sample:
- Residents of institutions (prisons, hospitals, etc)
- Residents of senior homes and hospices
- Residents of other group dwellings such as college dormitories, halfway homes, workers' quarters, etc
- Persons living outside the country at the time of data collection
Laos' Target Population Description
The target population comprises all non-institutionalized persons 15 to 64 years of age (inclusive) living in urban and rural areas of the country at the time of data collection. This includes all residents except foreign diplomats and non-nationals working for international organizations. There will be no exclusions for the target population. The survey tool is designed for Lao language only (the sole national language). IRL will make every effort to interview non-Lao speaking persons through the use of local translators. In most such cases, the household and individual modules will be carried out with the assistance of a translator when available. However, Modules 6 and 9 will not be administered to those respondents who do not speak or read Lao as per STEP technical standards.
Producers and sponsors
STEP Co-Task Team Leader, Education Global Practice
Maria Laura Sanchez Puerta
STEP Co-Task Team Leader, Social Protection and Labor Global Practice
World Bank Consultant Project Coordinator
Technical assistance in project management, data collection, data processing and data analysis
World Bank Consultant Senior Labor Economist
Technical assistance in project management, questionnaire design, and data analysis
World Bank Consultant Survey Consultant
Technical assistance in questionnaire design, sampling methodology, and data collection
Sebastian Monroy Taborda
World Bank Consultant Research Analyst
Technical assistance in data processing and data analysis
Multi-Donor Trust Fund Labor Markets, Job Creation and Economic Growth
Bank Netherlands Partnership Program
Educational Testing Services
Designed the Reading Literacy Assessment Module and conducted the preliminary analysis of the reading literacy data, including generating plausible values for the Extended Assessment
The Laos sample design is a 3 stage stratified sample design. The stratification variable is urban-rural indicator.
First Stage Sample
The primary sample unit (PSU) is a village. The sampling objective was to conduct interviews in 134 urban villages and 54 rural villages.
The villages were selected with probability proportional to size (PPS), where the measure of size was the number of households in a village.
Second Stage Sample
The second stage sample unit (SSU) is a household. In the second stage, the number of households selected in each selected PSU was proportional to the size of the selected PSUs. The households were selected from a list of households in each selected PSU by systematic equal probability sampling. At the same time, a reserve sample of the same number of households as the target sample in each PSU was selected for use when needed to ensure that the target sample size is achieved.
Third Stage Sample
The third stage sample unit was an individual aged 15-64 (inclusive). The sampling objective was to select one individual with equal probability from each selected household.
An overall response rate of 95% was achieved in the Lao PDR STEP Survey.
The Laos three-stage stratified cluster design resulted in differential probabilities of selection for the selected persons. Consequently, each selected person in the survey does not necessarily represent the same number of persons in the target population. To account for differential probabilities of selection due to the nature of the design and to ensure accurate survey estimates, the Laos STEP requires a sampling weight for each person that participated in the survey.
In general, the objectives of the Laos STEP weighting are to construct a set of survey weights to,
1) compensate for unequal probabilities of selection;
2) compensate for household-level non-response and person-level non-response;
3) adjust the weighted sample distribution for key variables of interest (for example, age, gender, education) so that it conforms to a known population distribution for these variables.
The general weighting procedure for the Laos STEP survey required the following tasks.
1) Creation of a data file to input into the weighting process;
2) World Bank (WB) Weight Requirement:
Create survey weights for sampled cases of households and persons that provided sufficient data to be considered a participant in the survey. This requirement does not necessarily include the completion of an assessment General Booklet, nor does it necessarily include the completion of all household and individual questionnaire modules.
a) Calculation of a PSU weight for 188 sampled PSUs (i.e., 154 urban PSUs, 34 rural PSUs);
b) Calculation of a household weight for each sampled household; i) Calculation of a household-level non-response adjustment independently for each PSU.
c) Calculation of a person weight for each selected person (SP); i) Calculation of a non-response adjustment independently for each sampled person.
3) The required output from the weighting process is a final Laos data file with the survey design weights (i.e., for each sampled PSU, household, person) appended to each data record.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Each interviewer team reports to a team supervisor. Interviewers must hand over to their supervisor properly filled questionnaires and reading exercise booklets (for Reading Literacy Assessment), and report all information about the fieldwork conducted.
Team supervisors are responsible for coordinating fieldwork, monitoring interviewers' work, documenting non-response, assigning reading exercise booklets and communicating regularly with a field manager. Also, once the household listing exercise is completed, the team supervisor randomly selects 15 households to be interviewed in the primary sampling unit (PSU), as well as reserve households that may be required to be activated (used) in the case of a non-response by one of the originally selected 15 households.
Field supervision details are outlined in "National Survey Design Planning Report" and "Interviewer's Manual and Team Supervisor's Manual", available in external resources.
Data Collection Notes
Each component of the STEP Survey was carried out by a personal visit using a Paper-and-Pencil Interview (PAPI) method. Interviews lasted between 120 and 150 minutes, depending on respondents' reading proficiency.
As the STEP program requires all surveys to be implemented in a standardized way, particular attention was provided to implementation processes:
1) Each participating country (survey firm) presented National Survey Design Planning Report (NSDPR) detailing how it intended to implement the STEP survey while complying with the STEP Technical Standards. The NSDPRs were submitted to the WB STEP team for approval.
2) The World Bank (WB) STEP team and Educational Testing Services (ETS) conducted two workshops for all survey firms. The first was a 2-day workshop provided via video conference and aimed at presenting the STEP Technical Standards. The second workshop was organized over two full weeks at the World Bank Headquarters. During this course project managers from each survey firm received training on the survey instruments, implementation of the survey and data management procedures.
3) Based on the STEP Technical Standards, the survey firms adapted and translated the STEP survey instruments, the interviewer manual, and all training materials.
4) Once the instruments had been adapted and translated, survey firms carried out a pre-test, usually including 20-30 interviews. Findings from the pre-test were discussed with the WB STEP team and ETS to finalize the adaptation and translation of the STEP survey instruments. The survey was implemented in Georgian.
5) Each survey firm provided a 2-week training course to its enumerators, using training materials developed by the WB STEP team (after translation and adaptation). The WB STEP team's survey consultant helped organize the training and was present in the country for the first few days of the training. In addition, the WB STEP team in Washington DC provided just-in-time technical assistance, answering questions sent by the survey firm during the training. The training included in-field mock interviews in addition to in-class courses. At the end of the training, survey firms only retained enumerators having demonstrated a good understanding of the instruments.
6) As per STEP Technical Standards, data collection started within a few days of the end of the enumerators' training course. The composition of each country's fieldwork teams, reporting procedures and quality control processes are described in the NSDPR. Weekly reports were sent to the WB STEP team, which provided just-in-time technical assistance during fieldwork to answer questions or concerns. Regular calls or VCs were also held between survey firms and the WB STEP team to discuss progress. Matters discussed usually involved questions on how to deal with specific situations, strategies to reduce non-response, the activation of reserve households, and general pace of progress.
Lao PDR Indochina Research
The STEP survey instruments include:
- a Background Questionnaire developed by the WB STEP team
- a Reading Literacy Assessment developed by Educational Testing Services (ETS).
All countries adapted and translated both instruments following the STEP Technical Standards: 2 independent translators adapted and translated the Background Questionnaire and Reading Literacy Assessment, while reconciliation was carried out by a third translator.
The WB STEP team and ETS collaborated closely with the Lao PDR survey firm during the process and reviewed the adaptation and translation to Lao using a back translation.
The survey instruments were both piloted as part of the survey pre-test.
The adapted Background Questionnaires are provided in English as external resources. The Reading Literacy Assessment is protected by copyright and will not be published.
STEP data management process:
1) Raw data is sent by the survey firm
2) The World Bank (WB) STEP team runs data checks on the background questionnaire data. Educational Testing Services (ETS) runs data checks on the Reading Literacy Assessment data. Comments and questions are sent back to the survey firm.
3) The survey firm reviews comments and questions. When a data entry error is identified, the survey firm corrects the data.
4) The WB STEP team and ETS check if the data files are clean. This might require additional iterations with the survey firm.
5) Once the data has been checked and cleaned, the WB STEP team computes the weights. Weights are computed by the STEP team to ensure consistency across sampling methodologies.
6) ETS scales the Reading Literacy Assessment data.
7) The WB STEP team merges the background questionnaire data with the Reading Literacy Assessment data and computes derived variables.
Detailed information on data processing in STEP surveys is provided in “Guidelines for STEP Data Entry Programs” document, available in external resources. The template do-file used by the STEP team to check raw background questionnaire data is provided as an external resource, too.
Data entry processes are described in the National Survey Design Planning Report (NSDPR), available as an external resource. In most countries, data entry took place at the survey firm's headquarters.
For the background questionnaire data, survey firms could use the World Bank (WB) STEP Data Entry Program (DEP) or design their own. In the latter case, the WB STEP team checks their DEP to ensure it complies with STEP technical standards. The STEP DEP was developed in Excel and mirrored the background questionnaire. Georgia developed their own DEP in CSPro. Yunnan Province of China, Ghana and Vietnam used the WB STEP Data Entry Program. Armenia, Georgia, Bolivia, Colombia, Lao PDR and Sri Lanka developed their own DEP in CSPro. Standards for data entry are detailed in "Guidelines for STEP Data Entry Programs" and summarized in the NSDPR. Double data entry process was required. All range checks and skips were controlled by the program. Consistency checks were also included in the data entry program.
All survey firms were required to score the Reading Literacy Assessment booklets and to enter the data using the Data Entry Program developed by Educational Testing Services (ETS). Double data entry process was required. Consistency checks were also included in the data entry program.
Estimates of Sampling Error
A weighting documentation was prepared for each participating country and provides some information on sampling errors.
All country weighting documentations are provided as an external resource.
STEP Task Team - Education Global Practice
Social Protection and Labor Global Practice
Use of the dataset must be acknowledged using a citation which would include:
- the Identification of the Primary Investigator
- the title of the survey (including country, acronym and year of implementation)
- the survey reference number
- the source and date of download
World Bank. Lao PDR STEP Skills Measurement Household Survey 2012 (Wave 1). Ref. LAO_2012_STEP-HH_v02_M. Dataset downloaded from [URL] on [date].
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.
(c) STEP 2014, The World Bank
DDI Document ID
Development Economics Data Group
The World Bank
Documentation of the DDI
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
Version 01 (June 2014)
Version 02 (March 2016)
Changes in v02 of study documentation compared to v01 published in June 2014
- v01 datasets were replaced with v02
- Study Title, Series Information and Abstract were edited