Indicators

School leavers with NCEA Level 1 or above

What We Have Found

In 2012, eighty-five percent of school leavers achieved at least NCEA Level 1, and eighty-nine percent achieved NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy.

Date Updated: July 2013

Indicator Description

Percentage of school leavers with an NCEA Level 1 qualification or above.

Why This Is Important

A formal school qualification is a measure of the extent to which young adults have completed a basic prerequisite for higher education and training and many entry-level jobs.  In 2002 the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 1 replaced School Certificate as the principal qualification to complete the first stage of upper-secondary education, and serves as a foundation for further study and/or employment.  NCEA Level 1, as with all levels of NCEA, encompasses a wide range of learning.  Students can attain credits through internal and external assessment, and they can accumulate these credits both within and across years.  Students are also able to undertake study at other NCEA levels to attain credits while studying for an NCEA Level 1 qualification.

The attainment of an upper secondary school qualification is linked to labour force status and incomes.  In 2011 New Zealanders with no qualifications had an unemployment rate 48% higher than those whose highest qualification was a school qualification (OECD, 2013).

How We Are Going

NCEA Level 1 or Above

In 2012, 85.2% of all school leavers attained at least NCEA Level 1.  Since 2009, there has been a proportional increase of 5.5% with respect to those who attain at least NCEA Level 1, with 85.2% in 2012 compared to 80.7% in 2009. Female school leavers (87.1%) achieved at a higher rate than their male counterparts (83.4%). 


Figure 1: Percentage of school leavers with NCEA Level 1 or above, by gender (2009-2012)
2012-inID-28788-fig1

Total response ethnicity collection involves counting people who identify with more than one ethnic group in each of these ethnic groups. For the New Zealand total, individuals are counted only once. When looking at ethnicity in this way in 2012, Asian students had the highest proportion of school leavers attaining at least NCEA Level 1 (92.9%), which was 3.9% higher than the percentage of European/Pākehā (89.4%).  Pasifika (78.8%) and Māori (70.5%) had the lowest rates of achievement.


Figure 2:  Percentage of school leavers which an NCEA Level 1 qualification or above, by ethnic group (2009 to 2012)

2012-inID-28788-fig2
Note:
  1. For this indicator students who identified in more than one ethnic group have been counted in each ethnic group.

Looking at the ethnic group trends, the largest proportional increases in those attaining at least NCEA Level 1 has been in Māori school leavers, with an increase of 11.3% between 2009 (63.3%) and 2012 (70.5%). Pasifika school leavers, have also displayed improvement, with an increase of 7.0% between 2009 (73.7%) and 2012 (78.8%).  This can be compared to the European/Pākehā school leavers, who had a smaller proportional increase of 4.6% between 2009 (85.5%) and 2012 (89.4%).  While this indicates that the disparities between the different ethnic groups are reducing, the disparity is still large for Māori and Pasifika students.


Figure 3: Percentage of school leavers with NCEA Level 1 and above, by school decile and school (2012)

2012-inID-28788-fig3

 
A clear positive correlation can be seen between the socio-economic mix of the school the student attended and the percentage of school leavers attaining at least an NCEA Level 1 qualification.  Schools in the lowest deciles (deciles 1 and 2) draw their students from communities with the highest degree of socio-economic disadvantage.

In 2012, 95.4% of students from schools in the highest deciles (deciles 9 and 10) left school with at least an NCEA Level 1 qualification.  This was 29.4% higher than the lowest two deciles (73.7%). 

There is a large variation in the percentage of school leavers attaining at least an NCEA Level 1amongst schools within each decile.

NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy

In 2012, 87.8% of all school leavers achieved NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy. Consistent with previous years, female school leavers (89.5%) achieved at a higher rate than their male counterparts (86.3%). 

Asian students had the highest proportion of school leavers achieving NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy, with 94.0% in 2012, which was 2.4 percentage points higher than the proportion of European/Pākehā (91.6%). 
Pasifika (82.5%) and Māori (75.1%) students had the lowest proportions achieving, however the gap in achievement rates has been decreasing slightly over time for both groups.

A clear positive correlation can be seen between the socio-economic mix of the school the student attended and the percentage of school leavers achieving NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy.  In 2012, 96.6 % of students from schools in deciles 9 and 10 left school achieving NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy.  This was 23.4% higher than deciles 1 and 2 (78.3%).
 
There is a large variation in the percentage of school leavers achieving NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy amongst schools within each decile.


Figure 4: Percentage of school leavers with NCEA Level 1 literacy and numeracy, by ethnic group (2012)
2012-inID-28788-fig4
Note:
  1. For this indicator students who identified in more than one ethnic group have been counted in each ethnic group.

References

Downloads / Links

Where to Find Out More

To obtain other information about school leavers, consider indicators:

Indicator Icon  School leavers with NCEA
        Level 2 or above

Indicator Icon  School leavers with a
        university entrance standard

Indicator Icon  School leavers entering
        tertiary education

Indicator Icon  18-year-olds with a minimum of
        NCEA Level 2 or equivalent

Indicator Icon  Retention of students in senior
        secondary schools

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