National Report on Schooling in Australia 2012

Student participation

4.2 Progression and retention

Increased student progression and retention to Year 10 and Year 12 (or approved alternative) are in line with the policy intent of Australian governments in establishing the National Youth Participation Requirement.¹

Apparent grade progression rates estimate the progression of students from one school grade/year level to the next. An apparent progression rate is calculated as the number of full- time students in a designated grade/year level as a percentage of the number enrolled in the grade/year level below in the previous calendar year.

Apparent retention rates estimate the progression of students through school over several calendar years and several grades/year levels, from the beginning to the end of a stage/level of schooling; for example, retention from Year 7/8 to Year 10, or across stages; for example, from Year 10 to Year 12. An apparent retention rate is calculated as the number of full-time students in a designated grade/year level as a percentage of their respective cohort group in a base year.

It is important to note that progression and retention rates are ‘apparent’ only. They are based on aggregate enrolment data and do not record the progression of individual students. As such, they do not take into account that some students may repeat a grade or be promoted (moving between cohorts) or that new students may join a cohort through immigration. Apparent retention rates do not take account of changes in the cohort that may have occurred in the years between the base year and the designated reporting year.

When apparent progression and retention rates are disaggregated, for example by state and territory or by school sector, they are less meaningful, as they do not take into account movements of students between jurisdictions or sectors.

National apparent progression rates (but not apparent retention rates) for Australia include a weighting for the proportion of students in each state/territory and are adjusted to factor in changes in the population.²

Apparent progression rates reported in Schools, Australia 2012 have been rebased from the 2006 Census of Population and Housing to the 2011 Census of Population and Housing.
However, data have been back-cast only to 2010, so a break in the series occurs between 2009 and 2010. For this reason, Table 4.4 includes two sets of data series describing national apparent progression rates from Year 9 to Year 10, from Year 10 to Year 11 and from Year 11 to Year 12 for the period 2008–12.


Table 4.4 Apparent progression rates, Year 9 to Year 10, Year 10 to Year 11 and Year 11 to Year 12,
Australia, 2008–12 (%)

Australia
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
Year9 to 10 (2006basedERP)(a)
97.1
96.9
98.1
98.7
 
Year9 to 10 (2011basedERP)(b)
 
 
98.1
98.1
97.9
Year10 to 11(2006basedERP)(a)
86.6
87.9
89.3
90.0
 
Year10 to 11(2011basedERP)(b)
 
 
89.4
89.1
90.2
Year11 to 12(2006basedERP)(a)
82.6
83.6
84.3
84.6
 
Year11 to 12( 2011basedERP)(b)
 
 
82.3
82.0
82.5

(a) Rates for years 2008–11 are calculated using estimated resident population (ERP) data based on the 2006 Census of Population and Housing.

(b) Rates for 2010 onwards are calculated using ERP data based on the 2011 Census of Population and Housing.

Sources: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2011, 2012


The series noted as (a), 2008–11, replicate the data which were shown graphically in the National Report on Schooling in Australia 2011 and are calculated using estimated resident population (ERP) data based on the 2006 Census of Population and Housing. These data are illustrated in Figure 4.4a.

Figure 4.4a Apparent progression rates, Year 9 to Year 10, Year 10 to Year 11 and Year 11 to Year 12, Australia, 2008–11

Figure 4.4a Apparent progression rates, Year 9 to

Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2011

As noted in the 2011 report, these series record upward movements in apparent progression rates from Year 9 to Year 10 and from Year 10 to Year 11 that coincided with the implementation of strengthened participation requirements for 15 and 16-year-olds, including through the National Youth Participation Requirement in 2010 and 2011.

The apparent progression rate (2006 base) from Year 9 to Year 10 rose by 1.7 percentage points from 97.0 per cent in 2007 to 98.7 per cent in 2011, when the requirement for compulsory completion of Year 10 took full effect in all jurisdictions. Apparent progression from Year 10 to Year 11 rose by 3.0 percentage points from 87 per cent to 90 per cent over the same period, although the potential impact of the post-Year 10 participation requirement on Year 11 enrolments was not yet fully felt in all jurisdictions in 2011.³

Figure 4.4b Apparent progression rates, Year 9 to Year 10, Year 10 to Year 11 and Year 11 to Year 12, Australia, 2010–12

Figure 4.4b Apparent progression rates, Year 9 to

Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2012

Figure 4.4b shows apparent progression rates 2010–12 rebased for the 2011 Census of Population and Housing, noted in Table 4.4 as series (b). The main impact (between 2009 and 2010) on Year 9 to Year 10 progression of a rise in the effective school leaving age in 2010 is not observable from these data, but a flow-through effect to 2012 may be a factor in increased progression from Year 10 to Year 11 and from Year 11 to Year 12 over the period 2010–12.

Data on apparent progression rates in each state and territory are available in the ABS publication Schools, Australia (Table 65a).

The effects of strengthened participation requirements for older school students are also observable in rising retention rates over the last five years, especially for the government school sector.

Table 4.5 and Figure 4.5 illustrate national apparent retention rates by school sector from the first year of secondary school (Year 7 or Year 8 depending on jurisdiction) to Year 10 over the period 2008–12. (Detail from Figure 4.5 is also shown below the main graph.)


Table 4.5      Apparent retention rates, Year 7/8 to Year 10 by sector, Australia, 2008–12 (%)

Table 4.5 Apparent retention rates, Year 78 to

Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2012


Figure 4.5    Apparent retention rates, Year 7/8 to Year 10 by sector, Australia, 2008–12

Figure 4.5 Apparent retention rates, Year 78 to

Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2012

Figure 4.5 (Detail) Data are identical to above – the vertical axis has been truncated for enhanced visibility

Figure 4.5 (Detail) Data are identical to above690


During this period, the apparent retention rate from Year 7/8 to Year 10 for all students rose by 1.9 percentage points from 99.4 per cent to 101.3 per cent. (Percentages exceeding 100 per cent for national apparent retention rates are possible because of net immigration to Australia of secondary students.) This resulted from a rise in the apparent retention rate in the government school sector by 4.5 percentage points from 98.6 per cent to 103.1 per cent which coincided with the strengthened participation requirements making Year 10 compulsory in the two most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria. Over the same period, Year 7/8 to 10 apparent retention rates for the Catholic sector fell slightly to 97.2 per cent while that for the independent sector was reduced from 104.8 per cent to 100.6 per cent. (Percentages exceeding 100 per cent for national apparent retention rates by sector are possible because of net immigration to Australia and movements of students between sectors.) A fall, since 2008, in the number of overseas students enrolled in independent schools4 may have contributed to the decline in the apparent Year 7/8 to 10 retention rate in that sector.

As noted above, comparisons between sectors are inconclusive, as sector-specific apparent retention rates can mask a variety of student movements between sectors. However, the increase in the Australian apparent Year 7/8 to 10 retention rate to more than 100 per cent is a strong indicator of success for the policy objective of universal participation in Year 10.

Table 4.6 and Figure 4.6 describe national apparent retention rates from the first year of secondary school (Year 7 or Year 8 depending on jurisdiction) to Year 12 over the period 2008–12.


Table 4.6 Apparent retention rates, Year 7/8 to Year 12 by sector, Au stralia, 2008 –12 (%)

Table 4.6 Apparent retention rates, Year 78 to Ye

Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2012


Figure 4.6 Apparent retention rates, Year 7/8 to Year 12 by sector, Australia, 2008–12

Figure 4.6 Apparent retention rates, Year 78 to Y

Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2012

During this period there was a marked increase in the overall Year 7/8 to Year 12 apparent retention rate, which rose by 5.3 percentage points, from 74.6 per cent to 79.9 per cent, and a convergence of rates for the three sectors. The greatest rise of 7.5 percentage points to 75.8 per cent was for the government sector, narrowing the gap in apparent retention to Year 12 between government and non-government schools, with apparent retention for Catholic schools up 3.7 percentage points to 82.1 per cent. Independent schools continued to record the highest apparent Year 7/8 to Year 12 retention rate of 91.8 per cent but with a fall of 2.2 percentage points over the period. The convergence of these rates between sectors suggests both a rise in the proportion of government school students continuing to Year 12 and a reduction in students transferring from government to non-government schools for Years 11 and 12. A fall in the enrolments of overseas students in Years 11 and 12 in the independent sector may have also contributed to the fall in apparent Year 7/8 to 12 retention rates for this sector. However, as noted above, sector-specific retention rates should be interpreted with caution.

Table 4.7 and Figure 4.7 show national apparent retention rates from Year 10 to Year 12 by sector over the period 2008–12.


Table 4.7     Apparent retention rates, Year 10 to Year 12 b y sector, Australia, 2008–12 (%)

Table 4.7 Apparent retention rates, Year 10 to Yea

Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2012


Figure 4.7    Apparent retention rates, Year 10 to Year 12 by sector, Australia, 2008–12

Figure 4.7 Apparent retention rates, Year 10 to222

Source: ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2012

Apparent retention rates from Year 10 to Year 12 rose for the government and Catholic sectors in the period 2008–12. The overall apparent retention rate rose 3.7 percentage points to 79.3 per cent in 2012 and the apparent rate for government schools rose 4.7 percentage points to 74.8 per cent. The gap between apparent retention from Year 10 to Year 12 for government and independent schools narrowed from 20.1 percentage points in 2008 to 14.2 percentage points in 2012. These data are also subject to the caveat that they do not take into account movement of students between sectors, but the overall increase in retention to Year 12 is in line with the policy intention of governments in strengthening requirements for 15–17-year-olds to participate in education and/or training.

 



 


¹The National Youth Participation Requirement includes the mandatory requirement for all young people to participate in schooling until they complete Year 10, and the requirement to participate full-time in education, training or employment, or a combination of these activities, until the age of 17. These were implemented in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania between 2006 and 2008 and in New South Wales, Victoria, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory in 2010.

² For more information, see ABS, Cat. No. 4221.0, Schools, Australia, 2012, Explanatory Notes; ABS, Cat. No.4221.0, Alternative Measures of Engagement in Secondary Education, 2009

³ The effect on Year 11 and 12 enrolments will also depend on the proportion of students who pursue approved alternative pathways to senior schooling following Year 10.

4 Reported by the Independent Schools Council of Australia

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