Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority

National Report on Schooling in Australia 2011
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Measurement Framework for Schooling 2012
National Report on Schooling in Australia 2009
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Student engagement
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Attendance
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Additional Statistics
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Measurement Framework for Schooling 2010
National Standards for Student Attendance Data Reporting
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National Report on Schooling in Australia 2009

Student engagement

4.2 Attendance

The National Education Agreement (NEA) and the Schools Assistance Act 2008 adopt the Key Performance Measure (KPM) for attendance agreed by Education Ministers as the performance indicator for attendance. This KPM is KPM 7 (b) in the Measurement Framework for Schooling in Australia.
 
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 status 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 2009, all school sectors in all States and Territories collected and reported attendance data for Years 1 to 10 for the specified periods.
 
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 2009 be aggregated or averaged to calculate KPM 7(b) at the national level.
 
The student attendance data collection is 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, with the assistance of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).
 
For 2009, 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, Table 16 and Table 17 in the Additional Statistics section of this report show 2009 student attendance data:
  • by school sector
  • by State and Territory
  • by year level
  • by sex.
Tables 15, Table 16 and Table 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 and 2008 National Reports on Schooling. The comments should be read in conjunction with these tables and with the Explanatory Notes.
 
Student attendance data by Indigenous and non-Indigenous status are shown in tables in the Additional Statistics section of this report and are discussed in Part 7 of this report.
 

Government school sector

There are consistent patterns within the attendance data for male and female students counted during the collection period. Attendance rates remained relatively consistent over each grade/year level for the three-year period 2007–2009. Male attendance rates in Year 10 government schools were higher than the female attendance rates for the same time period in South Australia, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. This observation also applies for the Northern Territory for 2008 and 2009.
 
In Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia government schools there was a slight fall in attendance rates for female students over the three-year period. This pattern is also apparent from Year 7 in Tasmanian government schools.
 
While attendance patterns in government schools remained consistent over Years 1–8, there was a slight fall in attendance rates for Years 9 and 10. For all States and Territories except Victoria, attendance rates for both females and males in Years 9 and 10 were consistently below 90%. For government schools in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory this slight decrease occurred from Year 8.
 
A consistent attendance pattern for the three-year period of data, of at or above 90%, is apparent for Years 1–7 for all government schools with the exception of the Northern Territory. For the 2009 collection period the attendance data for all grade/year levels for Northern Territory government schools is consistently at or above 80% with the exception of Year 8 males.
 

Catholic school sector

There are consistent patterns within the attendance data for male and female students counted during the collection period. For the Catholic sector, attendance rates remained relatively consistent over each grade/year level for the three-year period 2007–2009.
 
Since the 2007 attendance collection period a change in attendance pattern has emerged for Tasmania. All grades are now consistently represented at or above 90%. The attendance pattern continued to increase each year from the 2007 collection period. Male attendance rates were higher than the female attendance rates for the 2009 collection period in Years 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 to 10 for Tasmanian Catholic schools. For Years 4 and 6 the female attendance rate was higher than that for males.
 
While the ACT shows a fairly consistent overall pattern for Years 1 to 8 over the three-year period, there was a minor decrease in female attendance rates for Years 9 and 10, with Year 10 females recorded at below 90% for the 2009 collection period.
 
There is a generally consistent pattern of attendance of at or above 90% for most year levels for Catholic schools across the collection periods of 2007–2009, with the exception of Northern Territory which is recorded at or above 80%.
 

Independent school sector

There are consistent patterns within the attendance data for male and female students counted during the collection period. For the independent sector, attendance rates remained relatively consistent over each grade/year level for the three-year period 2007–2009.
 
Since the 2007 collection period there has been a slight rise in the Year 10 ACT female attendance rate; while it is slightly below the rate for males, it is above 90% for 2008 and 2009.
 
For the 2009 collection period, female attendance rates in the Northern Territory were slightly less than the rates for males and below 90% for Years 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9 and 10. Northern Territory male attendance rates are also below 90% for Years 1 and 3.
 
In Tasmania’s independent schools for the 2009 collection period, there is a slight increase in male attendance for Years 1 to 5, 7, 9 and 10 compared to the 2008 collection period. A similar pattern is apparent for female attendance rates for Years 1 to 4 and 6 to 10.
 

There is a consistent pattern of attendance of at or above 90% for all year levels for independent schools across the collection periods of 2007–2009, with the exception of the Northern Territory which is recorded at or above 85%.



¹ Schedule C of the National Education Agreement: Performance Indicators: Technical Definitions. The NEA  notes that technical definitions are “in development and not agreed”. Data on student attendance by socio-economic status were not available in 2009.