National Report on Schooling in Australia 2013

Senior schooling and youth transitions

6.2 Student attainment


The attainment key performance measures (KPMs) specified in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia 2012 measure the level of educational attainment achieved by young Australians by the time they have reached their early to mid-twenties.

KPM 7(a) and 7(b) measure the proportions of 20–24-year-olds who have completed Year 12 or equivalent or attained an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Certificate II or III, or above. These measures reflect the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) targets for youth attainment in education and training.

Key performance measure 7(a) Proportion of the 20–24-year-old population having attained at least Year 12 or equivalent, or AQF Certificate II or above

Table 6.7 reports KPMs 7(a) and 7(b) for the period 2009–2013. For comparison purposes, the table also reports the proportions of the 20–24-year-old population in this period, who had completed Year 12 or equivalent.


Table 6.7 Proportion of the 20–24-year-old population that has attained at least Year 12 or equivalent or AQF Certificate II or above; proportion of the 20–24-year-old population that has attained at least Year 12 or equivalent, or AQF Certificate III or above; proportion of the 20–24-year-old population that has attained at least Year 12 or equivalent; Australia, 2009–2013 (per cent)

Table 6.7 Proportion of the 20–24-year-old population that has attained at least Year 12


Notes:

CI = Confidence interval

The percentages reported in this table include 95 per cent confidence intervals. Confidence intervals are a way of expressing the degree of sampling and measurement error associated with survey estimates. For example, an estimate of 80 with a 95 per cent confidence interval of ±2 means that if the total population were surveyed rather than a sample, there is a 95 per cent chance that the result would lie between 78 and 82.

The sample population in the Survey of Education and Work was expanded in 2013 to include people who were permanently unable to work. This may result in slightly lower attainment rates in 2013 than would otherwise be the case.

Source: ABS, Cat. No. 6227.0, Education and Work, May 2013 See also Part 9: Additional statistics, tables 31 and 32


The proportion of 20–24-year-olds, who had attained Year 12 or equivalent or AQF Certificate II or above – KPM 7(a), rose from 84.5 per cent in 2009 to 86.7 per cent in 2013.

The COAG target for this measure is 90 per cent by 2015. Based on 2009–2013 data 2, it appears unlikely that this target will be met at the national level by 2015. However, since 2009, rises have occurred in both retention to Year 12 3 and in participation in education, training and work by 15–19-year-olds 4. These rises followed the implementation of the National Youth Participation Requirement 5, and may translate to increased attainment levels for these students as they move into the 20–24-year-old age bracket from 2015.

The proportion of 20–24-year-olds, who had attained Year 12 or equivalent, or AQF Certificate III or above – KPM 7(b), rose from 83.5 per cent to 85.7 per cent between 2009 and 2013.

The COAG target for this measure is 90 per cent by 2020. Based on 2009–2013 data, this target is achievable at the national level by 2020. It is also likely that the increased retention to Year 12, and participation in education and training by 15–19-year-olds since 2009 will lead to higher levels of attainment for these students as 20–24 year-olds in 2020. This would have a positive impact on this measure, enhancing the likelihood that the target is achieved by 2020.

Figure 6.3 depicts the movement in the two attainment measures from 2009 to 2013, along with the proportion of 20–24-year-olds having attained at least Year 12 or equivalent.

Key performance measures 7(a) and 7(b)

Figure 6.3 Proportions of 20–24-year-olds having attained at least Year 12 or equivalent, or AQF Certificate II or above; 20–24-year-olds having attained at least Year 12 or equivalent, or AQF Certificate III or above; and proportion of the 20–24-year-olds having attained at least Year 12 or equivalent; Australia, 2009–2013 (per cent)

Figure 6.3 Proportions of 20–24-year-olds having attained at least Year 12


Source: ABS, Cat. No. 6227.0, Education and Work, May 2013

See also Part 9: Additional statistics, tables 31 and 32


In each of the years 2009–2013, there is little difference between the two attainment KPMs (a maximum difference of 1.4 percentage points), and there is parallel movement of the KPMs over the period 6.

Both KPMs also closely parallel changes in the proportion of the 20–24-year-olds that has attained at least Year 12 or equivalent, which forms the major component of both measures. In 2013, 77.5 per cent of 20–24-year-olds had attained at least Year 12 or equivalent. A further 8.2 per cent, who had not attained Year 12, had attained Certificate III or above, and a further 1.0 per cent had attained Certificate II or above, but not Year 12 or Certificate III.

The proportion of young people completing Year 12 is not itself a KPM for schooling, as pursuing a vocational qualification post-Year 10 is a legitimate alternative to Years 11 and 12 as a pathway to further education and work. However, as shown in figure 6.3, it is not only a major component of KPMs 7(a) and 7(b), but is also a determining component, with variations in the two KPMs closely following variations in Year 12 or equivalent attainment.

This has implications for predicting and influencing the COAG measures, as the rate of Year 12 completion for current secondary students can be used as an indicator for the future attainment rates for Year 12, or Certificate II or Certificate III, or above among 20–24-year-olds.

It is important to note that, while the attainment KPMs 7(a) and 7(b) refer to the completion of Year 12 or equivalent or an AQF VET Certificate, this does not imply equivalence between the award of a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education on the completion of Year 12 and either AQF Certificate II or AQF Certificate III. The Senior Secondary Certificate of Education is an AQF qualification but it has not been allocated to a particular level within the AQF. The AQF does not specify equivalence between Senior Secondary Certificates and other AQF qualifications 7.






1 ‘Year 12 or equivalent’ includes the attainment of AQF Senior Secondary Certificates of Education issued by curriculum, assessment and certification authorities in each state and territory; senior secondary qualifications issued in other countries; and other recognised tertiary preparation qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate. Data collected through the Survey of Education and Work also include some respondents who identify Year 12 as their highest level of schooling completed but who may not have attained a formal Year 12 qualification.

2 The inclusion in the Survey of Education and Work 2013 of people permanently unable to work resulted in slightly lower attainment rates than would otherwise have been the case in 2013.

3 As reported in Part 4.3: Student participation – progression and retention

4 As reported in Part 6.2: Senior schooling and youth transitions – participation in education and work.

5 From 2010, 15- and 16-year-olds in all states and territories were subject to the National Youth Participation Requirement for all young people to participate in schooling until they complete Year 10, and to participate full-time in education, training or employment, or a combination of these activities, until the age of 17.

6 For the three data sets shown in table 6.7 and figure 6.3 the falls in 2011 data are not statistically significant and may reflect sampling variability in the Survey of Education and Work.

7 The volume of learning required to attain an AQF Certificate II is typically 0.5–1 year; for Certificate III it is typically 1–2 years, and for a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education it is typically 2 years (AQF Second edition p. 14). In some instances, VET in Schools students have the opportunity to complete several Certificate II qualifications as a part of their Senior Secondary Certificate of Education.

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