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 is now replaced with v02.
The difference between v02 and v01 datasets:
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.
13 major metropolitan areas: Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Baranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cucuta, Cartagena, Pasto, Ibague, Pereira, Manizales, Monteira, and Villavicencio.
The target population for the Colombia STEP survey is all non-institutionalized persons 15 to 64 years old (inclusive) living in private dwellings in urban areas of the country at the time of data collection. This includes all residents except foreign diplomats and non-nationals working for international organizations.
The following groups 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.
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
Stratified 7-stage sample design was used in Colombia. The stratification variable is city-size category.
First Stage Sample
The primary sample unit (PSU) is a metropolitan area. A sample of 9 metropolitan areas was selected from the 13 metropolitan areas on the sample frame. The metropolitan areas were grouped according to city-size; the five largest metropolitan areas are included in Stratum 1 and the remaining 8 metropolitan areas are included in Stratum 2. The five metropolitan areas in Stratum 1 were selected with certainty; in Stratum 2, four metropolitan areas were selected with probability proportional to size (PPS), where the measure of size was the number of persons aged 15 to 64 in a metropolitan area.
Second Stage Sample
The second stage sample unit is a Section. At the second stage of sample selection, a PPS sample of 267 Sections was selected from the sampled metropolitan areas; the measure of size was the number of persons aged 15 to 64 in a Section. The sample of 267 Sections consisted of 243 initial Sections and 24 reserve Sections to be used in the event of complete non-response at the Section level.
Third Stage Sample
The third stage sample unit is a Block. Within each selected Section, a PPS sample of 4 blocks was selected; the measure of size was the number of persons aged 15 to 64 in a Block. Two sample Blocks were initially activated while the remaining two sample Blocks were reserved for use in cases where there was a refusal to cooperate at the Block level or cases where the block did not belong to the target population (e.g., parks, and commercial and industrial areas).
Fourth Stage Sample
The fourth stage sample unit is a Block Segment. Regarding the Block segmentation strategy, the Colombia document 'FINAL SAMPLING PLAN (ARD-397)' states "According to the 2005 population and housing census conducted by DANE, the average number of dwellings per block in the 13 large cities or metropolitan areas was approximately 42 dwellings. Based on this finding, the defined protocol was to report those cases in which 80 or more dwellings were present in a given block in order to partition block using a random selection algorithm." At the fourth stage of sample selection, 1 Block Segment was selected in each selected Block using a simple random sample (SRS) method.
Fifth Stage Sample
The fifth stage sample unit is a dwelling. At the fifth stage of sample selection, 5582 dwellings were selected from the sampled Blocks/Block Segments using a simple random sample (SRS) method. According to the Colombia document 'FINAL SAMPLING PLAN (ARD-397)', the selection of dwellings within a participant Block "was performed differentially amongst the different socioeconomic strata that the Colombian government uses for the generation of cross-subsidies for public utilities (in this case, the socioeconomic stratum used for the electricity bill was used). Given that it is known from previous survey implementations that refusal rates are highest amongst households of higher socioeconomic status, the number of dwellings to be selected increased with the socioeconomic stratum (1 being the poorest and 6 being the richest) that was most prevalent in a given block".
Sixth Stage Sample
The sixth stage sample unit is a household. At the sixth stage of sample selection, one household was selected in each selected dwelling using an SRS method.
Seventh Stage Sample
The seventh 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.
Sampling methodologies are described for each country in two documents and are provided as external resources:
(i) the National Survey Design Planning Report (NSDPR)
(ii) the weighting documentation (available for all countries)
An overall response rate of 48% was achieved in the Colombia STEP Survey.
The Colombia stratified seven-stage 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 Colombia STEP requires a sampling weight for each person that participated in the survey.
In general, the objectives of the Colombia 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 of the number of dwellings by stratum and the number of persons by gender and by stratum so that the weighted survey estimates for these variables conform to a known population distribution for these variables.
The general weighting procedure for the Colombia 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, and an Exercise Booklet, and all household and individual questionnaire modules.
a) Calculation of a PSU weight for 9 activated sample PSUs;
b) Calculation of a household weight for each sampled household; i) Calculation of a household-level non-response adjustment independently for each PSU;
ii) Benchmark adjustment of the dwelling & household weights to known population totals for the number of dwellings.
c) Calculation of a person weight for each selected person (SP); i) Calculation of a non-response adjustment independently for each sampled person.
ii) Benchmark adjustment of the person weights to known population totals for age and gender.
3) The required output from the weighting process is a final Colombia data file with the survey design weights (i.e., for each sampled PSU, household, person) and benchmark weights 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 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 households.
Field supervision details are outlined in "National Survey Design Planning Report, Colombia" and "Interviewer's Manual and Team Supervisor's Manual", available in external resources.
Data Collection Notes
In all countries but Colombia, the method of data collection was Paper-and-Pencil Interviewing. In Colombia, the survey firm used handheld devices.
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.
Detailed information on the survey processes is provided in "National Survey Design Planning Report, Colombia" available as an external resource. The document describes the project management structure, fieldwork teams and reporting processes.
Colombia Econometrica and Sistemas Especializados de Informacion
Econometrica and SEI
The STEP survey instruments include:
- The background questionnaire developed by the World Bank (WB) STEP team
- Reading Literacy Assessment developed by Educational Testing Services (ETS).
All countries adapted and translated both instruments following the STEP technical standards: two independent translators adapted and translated the STEP background questionnaire and Reading Literacy Assessment, while reconciliation was carried out by a third translator.
The survey instruments were piloted as part of the survey pre-test.
The background questionnaire covers such topics as respondents' demographic characteristics, dwelling characteristics, education and training, health, employment, job skill requirements, personality, behavior and preferences, language and family background.
The background questionnaire, the structure of the Reading Literacy Assessment and Reading Literacy Data Codebook are provided in the document "Colombia STEP Skills Measurement Survey Instruments", available in external resources.
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 "STEP Guidelines for Data Processing", 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.
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. Colombia STEP Skills Measurement Household Survey 2012 (Wave 1). Ref. COL_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.
DDI Document ID
Development Data Group
The World Bank
Documentation of the study
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
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
- Updated version of the questionnaire added
- A report added