Boys’ Achievement: A Synthesis of the Data

Publication Details

The focus of this report is on boys’ participation, engagement and achievement at different levels of education.

Author(s): Learning Policy Frameworks, Ministry of Education

Date Published: December 2007

Chapter 7 - Highest Attainment of School Leavers

A formal school qualification is a measure of the extent to which young adults have completed a basic prerequisite for higher education and training, or many entry-level jobs.  This chapter looks at the highest attainment of school leavers and the changes that have occurred since 1993.

Key Findings

  • Females tend to stay at school longer and have better attainment than males across all ethnic groups.
  • The proportion of students leaving school with little or no formal attainment has decreased since the introduction of the NCEA.  However, across all years males are more likely than females to leave school with little or no formal attainment but this difference has decreased over recent years.
  • In 2006, over 20 % of Māori males, and females, left school with little or no formal attainment.
  • Historically females are more likely to gain University Entrance or higher qualifications than males.  Since 1993 the gender difference has grown and in 2006 females were 31 % more likely than males to gain University Entrance or higher qualifications.
  • Māori and Pasifika males are least likely to gain University Entrance or higher qualifications, but the proportion of Māori and Pasifika females is also low and of concern.

The monitoring of the highest attainment of school leavers is based on the annual 1st March survey of secondary and composite schools.  These statistics include all full-time regular students, full-time adult students and special education class students who left school during the period 1 March 2006 to 28 February 2007, to go on to further education, training, the workforce or other activities.

7.1. School Leavers

The percentage of school leavers by year level and gender are shown in Table 4 from 2004 to 2006.  Females tend to stay at school longer with 65 % leaving from year 13 in 2006 compared to 58 % of males.  For both genders the proportion of students staying longer at school has increased since 2004.  More male students tend to leave school in year 11 (14 % compared to 11 % of females) and year 12 (24 % compared to 22 % of females.

Table 4. The percentage of school leavers by year level and gender, 2004 to 2006

Year

Male - 2004

Male - 2005

Male- 2006

Female - 2004

Female - 2005
Female - 2006

Year 9

0

0

0

0

0

0

Year 10

3

2

2

2

1

1

Year 11

15

15

14

11

11

11

Year 12

26

25

24

22

22

22

Year 13

54

55

58

62

62

65

Year 14

3

2

1

2

2

1

Year 15

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

 

7.2. School leavers with Little or No Formal Attainment1

In 2006, 11 % of all school leavers left school with little or no formal attainment (Figure 26).  Between 1993 and 2002 there was little change in the proportion of students leaving with little or no formal attainment, but from 2002 onwards there has been a steady decline in the proportion of school leavers in this group.  Across all years males were more likely to leave school with little or no formal attainment; however this gap has narrowed considerably over this time.  For example in 2001 males were around 33 % more likely to leave school with little or no formal attainment, this had reduced to 14 % in 2006. 

Figure 26.  School leavers with little or no formal attainment by gender, 1993-2006

Image of Figure 26. School leavers with little or no formal attainment by gender, 1993-2006.

Figure 27 shows the proportion of school leavers with little or no formal attainment by gender and ethnic group in 2006.  Māori students are most likely to leave school with little or no formal attainment, with around 22 % of Māori male and female school leavers in this group.   Asian students on the other hand are least likely to leave school with little or no formal attainment.  There is also a clear correlation between socio-economic mix of the school the student attended and the percentage of school leavers with little or no formal attainment.  Students in low decile schools are more likely to leave school with little or no formal attainment than students in high decile schools.

Figure 27.  School leavers with little or no formal attainment by gender and ethnic group, 2006

Image of Figure 27. School leavers with little or no formal attainment by gender and ethnic group, 2006.

In all years since 1993, males are more likely to leave school with little or no formal attainment than females.  It is encouraging to see that this gender difference has decreased over time, but  the proportion of Māori in this group continues to be an area of concern.

7.3. School leavers with NCEA Level 2 or Higher Qualification2

Between 1993 and 2006, female school leavers performed better than male school leavers (Figure 28).  In 2006, 60 % of all school leavers achieved at least NCEA level 2, but higher proportions of females (65 %) than males (56 %) gain these qualifications.  The proportion of school leavers with NCEA level 2 or higher has increased slightly for males and females since 2005. 

Figure 28.  School leavers with NCEA level 2 or higher by gender, 1993-2006

Image of Figure 28. School leavers with NCEA level 2 or higher by gender, 1993-2006.

In 2006, Māori males (34 %) were least likely to leave school with an NCEA level 2 qualification or higher.  However, the proportion of Māori females (40 %) and Pasifika males (45 %) leaving school with at least a level 2 qualification are also of concern. There is also a clear correlation between socio-economic mix of the school the student attended and the percentage of school leavers with at least an NCEA level 2 qualification.  Students in low decile schools are less likely to leave school with an NCEA level 2 or higher qualification than students in high decile schools.  In 2006, the percentage of males in decile 1 to 8 schools leaving school with at least an NCEA level 2 qualification was lower then the national average.  In comparison, the percentage of females in decile 1 to 5 schools to gain a level 2 or higher qualification was lower than the national average.

7.4. School leavers with University Entrance or Higher Qualification3

An entrance qualification enables students to go directly into further tertiary study at degree level.  As shown in Figure 29, 36 % of school leavers achieved at least an entrance qualification in 2006.  Female students achieved at higher rates than male students, with 41 % of females and 31 % of males attaining at least an entrance qualification.  In the years 1993-2006 females have been more likely than males to achieve an entrance qualification or higher.  Over this period the proportion of male and female school leavers gaining an entrance qualification or higher has increased, but the rate of increase has been higher for females than males resulting in a widening of the gender gap.  In 1993, females were 18 % more likely than males to gain an entrance qualification or higher, however in 2006 this had increased to 31 %.

Figure 29.  School leavers with University Entrance or higher by gender, 1993-2006

Image of Figure 29. School leavers with University Entrance or higher by gender, 1993-2006.

Figure 30 shows the proportion of school leavers with University Entrance or higher by gender and ethnic group in 2006.  Māori and Pasifika males were least likely to leave school with University Entrance or higher, with only around 12 % of Māori males and 13 % of Pasifika males in this group.   However, the proportions of Māori and Pasifika females in this group are relatively low and also of concern.  

Figure 30.  School leavers with University Entrance or higher by gender and ethnic group, 2006

Image of Figure 30. School leavers with University Entrance or higher by gender and ethnic group, 2006.

 

There is also a clear correlation between socio-economic mix of the school the student attended and the percentage of school leavers with University Entrance or higher.  Students in low decile schools are less likely to leave school with University Entrance or higher than students in high decile schools.  The percentage of male students leaving school with University Entrance or higher qualifications is lower in decile 1 to 8 schools than the national average, whereas the percentage of females in decile 1 to 5 schools to gain University Entrance or higher is lower than the national average.  Also, of particular note is the smaller gender difference in University Entrance attainment in lower decile schools than higher decile schools.  For example the gender gap is 4.7 percentage points in decile 1-3 schools, in favour of girls, this increases to 11.7 percentage points in decile 4-7 schools and 11.8 percentage points in decile 8-10 schools.

Footnotes 

  1. From 2005, this includes students with between 0 and 13 credits at any NCEA level.  Between 2002 and 2004, this included students with between 0 and 13 credits at NCEA level 1 only.  Prior to 2002, this included students with fewer than 12 credits at National Certificate.
  2. A direct comparison can not be made between rates up to and including 2002 with rates for 2003 onwards, due to the change in qualification structure.  Due to methodological changes in the allocation of attainment levels in 2004, for leavers achieving a qualification between little or no formal attainment and UE standard, the percentage of leavers with at least NCEA level 2 in 2004 is not comparable with other years, and has been omitted.
  3. Includes those school leavers with University Entrance, year 13 qualifications or higher qualifications.