National Report on Schooling in Australia 2010

Student engagement

4.2 Attendance

The National Education Agreement (NEA) and the Schools Assistance Act 2008 adopt the Key Performance Measure (KPM) for attendance as agreed to by Education Ministers and included in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia as KPM 7(b).
KPM 7(b) is defined as:
The number of actual full-time equivalent student-days attended by full-time students in Years 1 to 10 as a percentage of the total number of possible student-days attended over the period.
 
The NEA also specifies¹ that this KPM will be disaggregated by State/Territory and school sector for all students, Indigenous status students and by socio-economic status² and that the period for this collection will be Semester 1 of each school year for government school systems (Term 1 for Tasmania) and the last 20 school days in May of each school year for non-government schools.
In 2010, all school sectors in all States and Territories collected and reported attendance data for Years 1 to 10 for the specified period.
However, because the definitions and methodologies used by jurisdictions and sectors to collect the data are not uniform, accurate comparisons between jurisdictions and sectors cannot currently be made. Nor can the data collected in 2010 be aggregated or averaged to calculate KPM 7(b) at the national level.
The student attendance data collection remains in a transitional phase until all jurisdictions and sectors have the capacity to report their data using an agreed standard. All States and Territories and the non-government sectors are collaborating to standardise the collections, in cooperation with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).
For 2010, each jurisdiction and sector has provided explanatory notes about the methods used to collect and report on student attendance data. These explanatory notes are attached to the Glossary of this report.
Tables 15, 16 and 17 in the Additional Statistics section of this report show 2010 attendance data by:
  • school sector

  • State and Territory

  • year level

  • sex.

Tables 15, 16 and 17 depict data for the government, Catholic and independent sectors respectively. The comments below, for each sector, refer to the data in these tables and the corresponding tables in the 2007, 2008 and 2009 National Reports on Schooling. The comments should be read in conjunction with these tables and with the Explanatory notes. The explanatory notes are accompanied by summary attendance tables for 2007–10 for each sector by State and Territory.
Student attendance data by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous status are shown in Tables 54, 55 and 56 in the Additional Statistics section of this report and are discussed in Part 7 of the report.

Government school sector

For the 2010 collection period, attendance rates were above 90 per cent for Years 1–7 across government schools in all jurisdictions, except for the Northern Territory, where attendance rates were above 80 per cent.
Attendance rates were between 85 per cent and 90 per cent for Years 9–10 in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania and for Years 8–10 in South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. The Northern Territory also had lower attendance rates for older age groups, with between 77 per cent and 79 per cent attendance in Years 8–10. For Victoria, student attendance rates were consistently at or above 90 per cent across Years 1–10.
For the government school sector in all States and Territories there was a decline in attendance in junior secondary years compared with primary school.
Attendance rates for male and female government school students during the 2010 collection period were even within year levels, within jurisdictions. Variations, where they occurred, were no more than one or two percentage points.
Between 2007 and 2010, student attendance rates remained stable for most Year levels in most States and Territories, with variations over the period of no more than one or two percentage points. The exception was the Northern Territory in Years 7–10, where attendance in 2010 was four to five percentage points lower than in 2007.

Catholic school sector

For the 2010 collection period, attendance rates were at or above 90 per cent for Years 1–10 in the Catholic school sector, except for Years 8 and 10 in the Australian Capital Territory, and Years 1–10 in the Northern Territory.
The attendance rates for male and female Catholic school students during the 2010 collection period were fairly even within year levels, within most jurisdictions. The exceptions to this pattern were in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory where attendance rates varied between males and females by up to four percentage points.
Between 2007 and 2010, there was little change in student attendance rates for specific Year levels in the Catholic sector in most jurisdictions. The exceptions were Year 10 in Victoria, where attendance increased by three percentage points, all Years 1–10 in Tasmania, where rates increased by up to six percentage points, and the Northern Territory, where they decreased by between three and eight percentage points across Years 1–10.

Independent school sector

For the 2010 collection period, attendance rates were above 90 per cent for all Years 1–10 for the independent school sector, except for Year 3 in the Northern Territory.
The attendance rates for male and female independent school students during the 2010 collection period were fairly even within year levels, within most jurisdictions. The exceptions to this pattern were Years 2 and 3 in the Northern Territory where there were four percentage point variations between males and females.
Between 2007 and 2010, student attendance rates for the independent sector were largely stable, with variations over time of only one or two percentage points. Exceptions were Year 9 in Queensland, Year 10 in the Australian Capital Territory and Years 9 and 10 in the Northern Territory, where there was a net increase of three percentage points over the period.


¹ Schedule C of the National Education Agreement: Performance Indicators: Technical Definitions. The NEA notes that technical definitions are ‘in development and not agreed’.
² Data on student attendance by socio-economic status were not available in 2010.