Indicators

Tertiary student progression

What We Have Found

One third of students who completed a tertiary qualification in 2002 enrolled in higher-level study in the following eight years.

Date Updated: June 2011

Indicator Description

Percentage of tertiary students who go on to enrol in higher-level study.

Why This Is Important

This indicator measures two types of progression. Tertiary progression measures the percentage of tertiary students who go on to higher-level study while graduate progression reports on the percentage of tertiary graduates who go on to any further study.  Graduate progression can include progression to higher-level study, as well as further study at the same or lower level as the qualification just completed.

Progression is useful as a measure of how many people advance their knowledge and skills acquisition.  For example, what proportion of older students attracted to tertiary study for the first time and completing a certificate, then go on to enrol in higher level study?  Do students with poor foundation skills or few school qualifications progress to higher levels after completing 'second chance' educational qualifications?

How We Are Going

One third of people who started a tertiary qualification in 2002 went on to enrol in higher-level study in the next eight years. Students with the level 1 - 3 Certificates were most likely to further enrol at higher tertiary qualification (41%) followed by students with Level 4 Certificates (33%).
 
The eight-year progression rate to higher-level study is slightly higher for full-time (36%) than for part-time (31%) students.

Generally, progression decreases the higher the level started. This is natural as the number of higher levels to progress to reduces. Hence progression rates for Masters students (8%) are lower than other levels, and progression rates for doctorates (the highest level) are, by definition, zero. 

Figure 1: Eight-year progression rates of domestic students who started study in 2002, by gender

tertiaryprog2

Eight-year progression rates to higher education were slightly higher for females (34%) than for males (30%).  

Māori and Asian students had the highest eight-year progression rate to higher-level study (36%) followed by Pasifika (33%) and Europeans/Pākehā (31%).

Figure 2: Eight-year progression rates of domestic students who started study in 2002 by ethnic group and qualification level

Eight-year progression rates of domestic students who started study in 2002 by ethnic group and qualification level

Apart from enrolling at higher-level study, students also enrol in the same or lower-level studies than they have already achieved.  

Broadening knowledge by further study in the same or lower-level studies was most appealing to students with Masters degrees, as 34% of these students progressed to the same or lower-level study in 5 years since 2004.

Progression varies depending on the time-frame looked at.  Apart from five-year rates, we also consider direct progression, that is, progression in the year immediately following completion.  Comparison of one-year and five-year graduate progression can provide an indicator of the extent to which students take break after completing a qualification, and return to study in future years.  

In 2004, 42% of students who completed Certificates 1 to 3 progressed to further study within a year, compared to 61% within 5 years.  For students who completed Bachelors degrees in 2004, this is 34% and 52% respectively.  Out of the students who completed Masters degrees in 2004,  27% progressed to further study within one year compared to 44% within 5 years.

References

Ministry of Education (2010). Tertiary Education Statistics. Wellington: Ministry of Education..

Ministry of Education (2010).  Profile & Trends 2009: New Zealand's Tertiary Education Sector. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Scott, D. (2008). Different Tracks - A Look at the Different Ways New Zealanders Get Tertiary Qualifications.  Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Scott, D. (2004). Retention, Completion and Progression in Tertiary Education 2003. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

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