School leavers entering tertiary education
What We Have FoundOf the students who studied at tertiary education for the first time in 2011, 77 % progressed directly, 15% had one or two years off and 8% had more than two years off
Date Updated: March 2013
Number of students starting tertiary education for the first time in 2010 and 2011.
Why This Is ImportantThe tertiary education sector is a diverse sector. Its scope ranges from informal non-assessed community courses in schools through to formal undergraduate degrees and advanced research-based postgraduate degrees. It provides pathways for a diverse range of learners, from school leavers to workers, the unemployed to students from overseas, and to those pursuing an interest, hobby or more social interaction. This indicator focuses on recent domestic school leavers.
New enrolments in tertiary education are indicators of the extent to which New Zealanders are developing the skills needed for a modern knowledge economy. To achieve this goal, clear pathways to assist young people making the direct transition from school to tertiary level study must be developed and maintained.
How We Are GoingOf the 47,959 students who started a tertiary education for the first time in 2011, 77 % progressed directly, 15% had one or two years off and 8% had more than two years off. This is very similar to 2010 rates, when 74% progressed directly, 18% had one or two years off and 8% took more than two years off.
Comparing 2010 and 2011 data, a pattern can be detected in transition rates among ethnic groups, with Asian students being most likely and Maori students least likely to transition to tertiary education directly. 90% of Asian students (sole1 ethnic group) transitioned to tertiary education directly, European/Pākehā and Pasifika students followed with similar rates (77% and 65% respectively in the sole ethnic category). The transition rates were the lowest for sole Maori students (68%).
Direct progression from school to tertiary education, by ethnic group (2011)
In 2011 more than half (56%) of the 18-year-old students had left school for tertiary education, including those who started tertiary education for the first time in 2011 and those that had transitioned to tertiary education earlier. 17% of 18-year-olds were still in school. Of the 18 year-olds in school, 85% were solely committed to school studies while 15% were concurrently involved in tertiary education. The majority of the 19 year-olds were found in tertiary education (52%) with only 3% of them remaining still in school.
School to tertiary progression, by age (2011)
The main destination of the students with NCEA Level 3 was university (63%) followed by Institutes of technology and polytechnics (12%). Students with NCEA Level 2 most often transitioned to Institutes of technology and polytechnics (29%) followed by university (9%). The most likely destination of students with NCEA Level 1 were private training establishments and industry training organisations (28%) followed by Institutes of technology and polytechnics (26%). 19% of students with NCEA Level 3, 41% with NCEA Level 2, and 50% with NCEA Level 1 were not in tertiary study the year after leaving school.
The direct transition to tertiary education of male and female students in 2011 was not markedly different, 76% and 78% respectively.
There is a clear correlation between quintile (the socio-economic mix of the last school the student attended) and the percentage of school leavers going directly to tertiary education. Schools in the highest quintile (deciles 9 and 10) draw their students from communities with the lowest degree of socio-economic disadvantage. In 2011, 72% students from quintile 1 school transitioned to tertiary education directly compared to 82% of students from quintile 5 schools.
- Sole ethnic group includes only students who indicated affiliation with one and only one ethnic group. Students who affiliated with more than one ethnic group are counted in ever-ethnic categories.
How To Find Out More
To obtain other information about school leavers consider indicators:
- School leavers with a university entrance standard
- School leavers with NCEA Level 2 or above
- School leavers with NCEA Level 1 or above.
To obtain a more complete understanding of participation in tertiary education, and their related effects, consider the indicator:
The Ministry of Education has established an Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis Programme to systematically identify, evaluate, analyse, synthesise and make accessible, relevant evidence linked to a range of learner outcomes. Evidence about what works for this indicator can be found in:
- Alton-Lee, A. (2003). Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
- Engler, R. (2011). School’s Out – What Next? Wellington: Ministry of Education.
- Ministry of Education (2006). Tertiary Education Strategy 2002-2007: Monitoring Report 2005. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
- Ministry of Education (20112). Profile & Trends 2011: New Zealand’s Tertiary Education Sector. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
- Strathdee, R. & Engler, R. (2011). Who is Missing from Higher Education in New Zealand? British Educational Research Journal, 1, 1-18.