National Report on Schooling in Australia 2013

Student participation

4.3 Attendance


The national key performance measure (KPM) for attendance as agreed to by education ministers is included in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia 2012 as KPM 1(b):

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 National Education Agreement (NEA) and Schools Assistance Act 2008 also specify this measure as a performance indicator.

From 2013, a consistent reference period of Semester 1 in each school year has been adopted by all school sectors in all states and territories for the collection of these data.

This is consistent with the agreement reached in 2012 by all jurisdictions and sectors on new standards for the collection and reporting of nationally consistent student attendance data. This resulted from work undertaken by all states, territories and the non-government school sectors in collaboration with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). The National Standards for Student Attendance Data Reporting were published on the ACARA website in December 2012 and updated in December 2013.

These standards will enable consistent and comparable reporting of attendance rates, including the calculation of KPM 1(b) at the national level, for students in Years 1–10 (including ungraded students, where applicable) across all sectors and jurisdictions in Australia for the 2014 data collection period and onwards. The non-government sectors agreed to conform to the national standards from the 2013 data collection period.

For the 2013 national school attendance data collection, there are still some differences in definitions and methodology between sectors and between states and territories. Notes on these differences are included in the glossary of this report.

Because of these residual differences, the 2013 attendance data have not been aggregated or averaged to calculate KPM 1(b) at the national level.

For 2013, attendance rates for government, Catholic and independent school sectors continue to be reported separately in tables 17–19 in Part 9: Additional statistics.

Each of these tables show attendance rates by:

• state and territory
• year level
• sex.

They also include summary data for 2009–2013 for each school sector by state and territory. The comments below should be read in conjunction with these tables.

Although differences in methodology still prevent full comparisons of attendance data between jurisdictions and sectors, a common characteristic is an apparent fall in attendance rates as students move from primary to secondary school, and through secondary school to Year 10.

In 2013, attendance rates for Years 1–7 exceeded 90 per cent in all sectors in all jurisdictions, except for the Northern Territory. Year 10 attendance rates were lower than those for the first year of secondary school in all sectors in all jurisdictions. Comments on attendance rates for each sector are below.

Government school sector


For the Semester 1 2013, student attendance rates for all states and the Australian Capital Territory were consistently in the range of 92–95 per cent for Years 1–7, dropping to between 85 and 91 per cent for Years 8, 9 and 10. Rates for the Northern Territory were lower across all years. All jurisdictions exhibited similar patterns, with the lowest attendance rates recorded for Year 10. Differences in rates between year levels ranged between three percentage points (Victoria) and nine percentage points (Northern Territory).

The attendance rates for male and female government school students during the 2013 collection period were similar within year levels, within jurisdictions. Differences, where they occurred, were no more than three percentage points.

Between 2009 and 2013, there was limited change in student attendance rates for individual year levels in the government sector in most jurisdictions.

Catholic school sector


For Semester 1 2013, student attendance rates were consistently in the 93–95 per cent range for Years 1–7, with some decline in junior secondary years. The exception was the Northern Territory, where all rates were lower.

The attendance rates for male and female Catholic school students during the 2013 collection period were similar within year levels, within jurisdictions. Differences, where they occurred, were no more than three percentage points.

Between 2009 and 2013, there was limited change in student attendance rates for individual year levels in the Catholic sector, with changes of up to five percentage points.

Independent school sector


For Semester 1 2013, student attendance rates were consistently 93–95 per cent for Years 1–7, except for the Northern Territory where rates were slightly lower. Rates for Years 8–10 were 91–95 per cent, except for the Northern Territory where they were below 90 per cent.

The attendance rates for male and female independent school students during the 2013 collection period were similar within year levels in all jurisdictions.

Between 2009 and 2013, there was little change in student attendance rates for individual year levels in the independent sector in most jurisdictions, with variations up to four percentage points. The exceptions were the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, where some larger variations occurred.

Attendance data by Indigenous status are shown in tables 42–44 in Part 9: Additional statistics and discussed in Part 7 of this report.






1 NSW is working towards complying with national standards in 2016.

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