State of Education in New Zealand: 2008

Publication Details

The State of Education series is an annual publication. State of Education in New Zealand: 2008 is the third issue in the series, with most of the data relating to the previous year (2007).

Author(s): Strategy and System Performance, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: December 2008

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This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box).  To view the individual chapters please refer to the 'Sections' inset box.  For links to related publications/ information that may be of interest please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box.

Chapter 2: Schooling

A good level of numeracy and literacy obtained from schooling is vital in the workplace and in everyday life, and for establishing foundations needed for life-long learning. Students who obtain qualifications at school tend to have more options for tertiary education and for future employment. Those who leave school early and/or without qualifications have a greater risk of unemployment and low incomes.

All students should achieve their potential. This means improving opportunities and outcomes for students currently underachieving, while continuing to improve outcomes for high and average achievers. Current sector-wide activities focus on those factors that make the biggest difference for student learning, namely:

  • ensuring teachers use and develop effective teaching practices, maintain high expectations of all students, and judge their success by the academic and social outcomes of their students
  • ensuring families have high expectations for the ongoing learning of their children, and receive the information and support to nurture their child’s learning.

Areas examined in this chapter are: foundation knowledge (primary), student engagement, teaching education, knowledge (secondary), school leaver qualifications and school leaver transition to tertiary education.

There is a considerable amount of information on international comparisons and on trends in our schooling system, but gaps include:

  • international comparison studies are carried out only periodically (typically with gaps of several years) and the information even at the point of release can be quite dated
  • system-wide information collected from schools has historically been aggregate and paper-based and has not enabled sophisticated, longitudinal tracking of student performance. 

5. Foundation knowledge

What we have found

The latest information available from the international studies comes from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS)1 and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).2 These studies show that New Zealand Year 5 students, on average, perform significantly above the international mean in reading but only performed significantly above 13 of 36 countries in science, and significantly above 12 of 36 countries in mathematics. However, by the time these students are 15 years old they will be performing, on average, above the international means for mathematics and science (see Chapter 9).

Between 1994 and 2006, there was a significant improvement in the mean mathematics scores of New Zealand Year 5 students while the mean science scores have remained about the same. Between 2001 and 2005, there has been no significant change in the mean reading scores.

On average, Year 5 girls significantly outperform boys in reading. In mathematics and science, the mean scores for girls and boys are generally about the same. However, the ranges of achievement in mathematics, science, and reading are wider for boys than for girls.

Year 5 European/Pākehā and Asian students typically achieve higher scores than their Māori and Pasifika counterparts in reading, mathematics, and science. However there have been reductions in the disparities between some ethnic groups for mathematics and science.


Why this is important

The literacy and numeracy skills gained at primary school during Years 1 to 8 are essential life skills upon which all other learning is based. Successful learning at a young age increases the likelihood of positive engagement in later schooling years and assists students to become lifelong learners.


How we are going

Reading literacy achievement

In 2005/06, the second cycle of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) found New Zealand Year 5 students, on average, performed significantly higher than the international PIRLS scale mean. The data also show:

  • there was no significant change in New Zealand students’ mean score between 2001 and 2005/06
  • there was no significant change in the mean reading literacy scores of any of the four ethnic groupings over this period (see Table 5.1)
  • the performance of many New Zealand Year 5 students was relatively strong compared with their international counterparts in 2005/06. For example, approximately 13 percent of New Zealand students achieved scores 625 or higher (i.e. reached the Advanced International Benchmark). This was the ninth highest proportion internationally and nearly double the international median of seven percent (see Figure 5.1)
  • as well as having the highest average performance, Asian and European/Pākehā girls were more likely to be among the group the students who reached the higher benchmarks
  • as in 2001, there continues to be a relatively large gap between the highest and lowest achieving New Zealand Year 5 students in 2005/06. This gap is larger than most other higher performing countries
  • relative to higher performing countries, New Zealand had a slightly higher proportion of students who showed they had weaker reading comprehension skills. For example, eight percent did not reach the Low International Benchmark of 400 (compared with the international median of six percent)
  • the group with weaker comprehension skills were more likely to be Māori boys, Pasifika boys and girls, and students in lower decile schools than other Year 5 students
  • in 2005/06, girls generally achieved significantly higher reading literacy scores than boys in all but two of the40participating countries (Spain and Luxembourg were the exceptions). The average difference observed between New Zealand Year 5 girls and boys was one of the largest internationally.

Table 5.1: Year 5 students’ mean reading literary scores in 2001 and 2005/06 by ethnic group
Ethnic Group20012005/2006
Māori481 (5.5)483 (3.6)
Pasifika481 (7.2)479 (6.7)
Asian540 (9.9)550 (5.3)
European/Pākehā552 (3.4)552 (2.4)
Notes:
  1. Source: Chamberlain (2008).
  2. Standard errors appear in parentheses.



Figure 5.1: Percentage of New Zealand Year 5 students reaching the PIRLS international reading benchmarks (2005/06)
Figure 5.1: Percentage of New Zealand Year 5 students reaching the PIRLS international reading benchmarks (2005/06)
Note:
  1. Source: Chamberlain (2007).


Mathematics achievement

The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) showed that in 2006, New Zealand Year 5 students performed higher on average than 12 of the 36 participating countries.3 Furthermore, there was significant improvement in the mean score of New Zealand Year 5 students between 1994 and 2006. The range of scores between the highest and lowest-performing groups of students reduced between 1994 and 2006, largely because of the increase in scores of students in the lowest performing group. The data also show:

  • proportionately more New Zealand Year 5 students achieved at or above the low, intermediate, or high mathematics benchmarks in TIMSS in 2006 than in 1994
  • the proportion of New Zealand Year 5 students who did not reach the low mathematics benchmark in TIMSS in 2006 was seven percentage points less than in 1994 (see Figure 5.2)
  • girls and boys generally score similarly in mathematics in New Zealand
  • Asian and Māori students had the largest increases in mean achievement scores between 1994 and 2006 in TIMSS (see Figure 5.3)
  • the National Education Monitoring Programme (NEMP) also showed a moderate reduction in the disparity between European/Pākehā, and Māori and Pasifika students, between the 2001 and 2005 cycles.


Figure 5.2: Trends in the proportions of New Zealand Year 5 students achieving at or above the international mathematics benchmarks in TIMSS (1994 and 2006)
Figure 5.2: Trends in the proportions of New Zealand Year 5 students achieving at or above the international mathematics benchmarks in TIMSS (1994 and 2006)
Note:
  1. Source: Caygill & Kirkham (2008a).



Figure 5.3: Mean mathematics achievement for New Zealand Year 5 students in TIMSS by ethnic group (1994 to 2006)
Figure 5.3: Mean mathematics achievement for New Zealand Year 5 students in TIMSS by ethnic group (1994 to 2006)
Notes:
  1. Source: Caygill & Kirkham (2008a).
  2. The 1998 assessment was a national study only as grade 4 was not part of the international TIMSS-98/99.
  3. Because 2002 was the only year in which New Zealand assessed in two languages, for trend purposes, the mean scores shown here are for those students assessed in English.

Science achievement

Between 1994 and 2006, the average science performance of New Zealand Year 5 students remained about the same as measured by TIMSS. In 2006 the mean performance of Year 5 students was significantly higher than 13 of 36 participating countries. The distribution of scores has narrowed since 1994, with fewer students demonstrating very high or very low achievement. The data also show:

  • proportionately fewer New Zealand Year 5 students achieved at or above the advanced international science benchmarks in 2006 than in 1994 (see Figure 5.4)
  • the proportion of students who did not reach the high, intermediate, and low science benchmark in 2006 was about the same as in 1994 (see Figure 5.4)
  • the average science achievement of girls and boys did not change significantly between 1994 and 2006. The range of achievement for boys was wider than that of girls, both in 1994 and 2006. However the range of achievement for boys has narrowed since 1994
  • there have been significant increases in the mean science scores of Asian students between 1994 and 2006. The average science achievement of Pākehā/European, Māori, and Pasifika students was not significantly different in 2006 from that observed in 1994 (see Figure 5.5).


Figure 5.4: Trends in the proportions of Year 5 students achieving at or above the international science benchmarks in TIMSS (1994 and 2006)
Figure 5.4: Trends in the proportions of Year 5 students achieving at or above the international science benchmarks in TIMSS (1994 and 2006)
Note:
  1. Source: Caygill (2008).


Figure 5.5: Mean science achievement for New Zealand Year 5 students in TIMSS by ethnic group (1994 to 2006)
Figure 5.5: Mean science achievement for New Zealand Year 5 students in TIMSS by ethnic group (1994 to 2006)
Notes:
  1. Source: Caygill (2008).
  2. The 1998 assessment was a national study only as grade 4 was not part of the international TIMSS-98/99.
  3. Because 2002 was the only year in which New Zealand assessed in two languages, for trend purposes, the mean scores shown here are for those of students assessed in English.


Where to find out more about Foundation Knowledge:

Links to: Indicators
 Indicator Icon  Reading Literacy Achievement: Primary Schooling
 Indicator Icon  Mathematics Achievement: Primary Schooling
 Indicator Icon  Science Achievement: Primary Schooling

Links to: Publications
Publications Series
 Indicator Icon  PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study)
 Indicator Icon  TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study)
Individual Publications
 Indicator Icon  Quality Teaching Early Foundations - Best Evicence Synthesis (BES)

Link to: Projects
 Indicator Icon  NEMP (National Education Monitoring Project)

6. Student engagement

What we have found

Male students, students from low decile schools, and Māori students are more likely to ‘disengage’ from education services.

Male students are more than twice as likely to be given a suspension as female students, and three times more likely to be excluded or expelled from school. Māori have the highest suspension rates and exclusion rates, and the second highest expulsion rates.

Students from decile 1 and 2 schools are between three and six times more likely to be suspended, excluded, and expelled than students from decile 9 and 10 schools. They are also more likely to be unjustifiably absent and frequent truants.

The Student Engagement Initiative (SEI) has resulted in sizeable decreases in the suspension rates of Māori and Pasifika students who attend SEI schools.


Why this is important

‘Engagement’ in education means the extent to which young people participate and become involved in schooling. It encompasses attendance, a sense of belonging and wellbeing, and enjoyment.

Positive student engagement, which is potential ‘opportunity to learn’, is an essential part of helping students to reach their educational potential, and obtain the prerequisites for higher education and training or for many entry-level jobs.

Student disengagement leads to higher risks of negative youth behaviours such as drug and alcohol abuse, and violence. It also causes disruptive behaviour that affects others in the schooling community.

There are clear signals that suggest a student is disengaging from school. These include a decline in academic performance, behavioural problems, and non-attendance. If the underlying reasons are not identified and addressed, disengagement can lead to stand-downs and suspensions or, in more serious cases, exclusion or expulsion.


How we are going

Suspensions

High suspension rates are an issue for males, students from low decile schools, and Māori students. Between 2006 and 2007, suspension rates decreased for all ethnic groups. The data show:

  • in 2007, the suspension rate was more than two and a half times greater for males (9.4 students per 1,000) than for females (3.6 students per 1,000)
  • in 2007, Māori students had the highest suspension rate (14 students per 1,000) while Asian students had the lowest rate of suspensions (with 1.2 students per 1,000) (see Figure 6.1)
  • all ethnic groups had a decrease in suspension rates between 2006 and 2007 with the 17 percent decrease for Pasifika suspensions (8.7 students per 1,000 in 2007) being the largest decrease. This took Pasifika students back towards the rate they had in 2000 (8.6 students per 1,000)
  • between 2000 and 2007 the suspension rate decreased by 17 percent from 7.9 students per 1,000 to 6.6 students per 1,000
  • since 2000, Māori had the greatest decrease in suspensions (25 percent), with European/Pākehā also having a large decrease of 22 percent
  • students from decile 1 and 2 schools (11 suspensions per 1,000 students) were almost five times more likely to be suspended than students from decile 9 and 10 schools (2.3 per 1,000)
  • suspended students lost an average of 20 school days in 2007, a trend that has changed little since 2000.


Figure 6.1: Age-standardised suspension rates per 1,000 by ethnic group (2000 to 2007)Figure 6.1: Age-standardised suspension rates per 1,000 by ethnic group (2000 to 2007)
Notes:
  1. Source: Ministry of Education (2008d).
  2. New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) students, foreign fee-paying students, Correspondence School students, adult students (aged over 19 years old), and private students are excluded.
  3. A series for students of ‘Other’ ethnicity is not represented; however, they are included in the total series.


The Student Engagement Initiative (SEI, formally known as the Suspension Reduction Initiative) was established in 2001 to reduce the disproportionately high number of Māori suspensions, truancies, and early leaving exemptions. Sixty-three secondary schools joined the programme in the first year. The data show:

  • between 2000 and 2007, the suspension rate for SEI schools who joined in 2001 had almost halved (to 18 per 1,000 students in 2007), while the suspension rate for secondary schools that had never joined the SEI programme (9.5 per 1,000 students in 2007) remained constant. As a result of this decrease the suspension rate for SEI schools dropped from four times greater than non-SEI schools to only two times greater (see Figure 6.2)
  • the Māori suspension rate for SEI schools who joined in 2001 (30 per 1,000 students in 2007) decreased by 59 percent between 2000 and 2007 compared to a nine percent increase in the Māori suspension rate for schools that had never joined the SEI programme (24 per 1,000 students in 2007)
  • between 2000 and 2007, the Pasifika suspension rate for SEI schools that joined in 2001 decreased by 21 percent (25 per 1,000 students). Over the same period there was a 35 percent increase in the Pasifika suspension rate for schools that had never joined the SEI programme (19 per 1,000 students in 2007).



Figure 6.2: Age-standardised suspension rates for secondary schools by Student Engagement Initiative (SEI) status (2000 to 2007)
Figure 6.2: Age-standardised suspension rates for secondary schools by Student Engagement Initiative (SEI) status (2000 to 2007)
Notes:

  1. Source: Ministry of Education (2008d).
  2. New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) students, foreign fee-paying students, Correspondence School students, adult students (aged over 19 years old), and private students are excluded.
  3. SEI equals the original 63 secondary schools that joined the programme in the first year.
  4. Non-SEI equals secondary schools that have never joined the SEI programme. 

Exclusions and expulsions

In cases where a student is suspended, the school’s board of trustees can decide whether the student should be excluded or expelled from the school. The rates of both exclusions and expulsions have decreased over the past seven years, indicating that less extreme forms of discipline are being used. The data show:

  • in 2007 Māori students continued to have the highest exclusion rate. Māori students had an exclusion rate of 5.0 per 1,000 students and European/Pākehā students had an exclusion rate of 1.3 per 1,000students. Both these rates were a decrease from 2000 with the Māori rate decreasing by 21 percent and the European/Pākehā rate decreasing by 25 percent (see Figure 6.3).
  • between 2000 and 2007, Pasifika students have experienced the smallest decrease in exclusion and expulsion rates. In 2007, the Pasifika expulsion rate was 4.1 students per 1,000 and exclusion rate was 3.4 students per 1,000
  • male students account for more than three-quarters of all exclusions and expulsion.
  • students from decile 1 and 2 schools are more than four times more likely than students from decile 9 and 10 schools to be excluded, and more than three times more likely to be expelled.


Figure 6.3: Age-standardised exclusion rates per 1,000 by ethnic group (2000 to 2007)
Figure 6.3: Age-standardised exclusion rates per 1,000 by ethnic group (2000 to 2007)
Notes:

  1. Source: Ministry of Education (2008e).
  2. New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) students, foreign fee-paying students, Correspondence School students, adult students (aged over 19 years old), and private students are excluded.
  3. A series for students of ‘Other’ ethnicity is not represented; however, they are included in the total series.


Figure 6.4: Age-standardised expulsion rates per 1,000 by ethnic group (2000 to 2007)
Figure 6.4: Age-standardised expulsion rates per 1,000 by ethnic group (2000 to 2007)
Notes:
  1. Source: Ministry of Education (2008e).
  2. New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) students, foreign fee-paying students, Correspondence School students, adult students (aged over 19 years old), and private students are excluded.
  3. A series for students of ‘Other’ ethnicity is not represented; however, they are included in the total series.


Truancy

The last attendance survey was carried out in New Zealand in 2006. This survey estimated truancy rates, that is, the percentage of students who have absences that cannot be explained or that are not satisfactorily explained. Truancy can range from an intermittent absence for part of the day, such as arriving late at school, skipping classes and tardiness in class attendance, to an unjustified absence for a half day or longer. Students who were unjustifiably absent for three or more days during the week of the survey were identified as ‘frequent truants’. The data show:

  • in 2006, more students had unjustified absences in secondary schools (3.9 percent) than in primary schools (1.5 percent) or composite schools (2.6 percent)
  • in 2006, Māori students had the highest proportion of ‘frequent’ truants (2.4 percent), which was 30 percent greater than Pasifika students (1.8 percent). The Māori proportion of ‘frequent’ truants was five times greater than for European/Pākehā (0.5 percent) (see Figure 6.5)
  • in 2006, Māori students had the highest unjustified absences (5.1 percent), which was 18 percent greater than Pasifika students (4.4 percent). The Māori proportion of students with unjustified absences was almost four times greater than that of European/Pākehā students (1.3 percent) (see Figure 6.5)
  • in 2006, a student from a decile 1 or 2 school was more six times more likely to be a ‘frequent’ truant (2.5 percent compared to 0.4 percent) and more than five times more likely to have an unjustified absence (5.5 percent compared to 1.0 percent) than a student from a decile 9 or 10 school (see Figure 6.6).



Figure 6.5: Standardised percentage of ‘frequent’ truancy and unjustifiable absences by ethnic group (2006)

Figure 6.5: Standardised percentage of ‘frequent’ truancy and unjustifiable absences by ethnic group (2006)

Notes:

  1. Source: Ministry of Education (2007b).
  2. As age was not provided in the attendance survey data, truancy percentages have been standardised by year level.
  3. Total includes ‘Other’ ethnic group.



Figure 6.6: Standardised percentage of ‘frequent’ truancy and unjustifiable absences by quintile (2006)

Figure 6.6: Standardised percentage of ‘frequent’ truancy and unjustifiable absences by quintile (2006)

Notes:

  1. Source: Ministry of Education (2007c).
  2. As age was not provided in the attendance survey data, truancy percentages have been standardised by year level.
  3. Total includes ‘Other’ ethnic group.


Where to find out more about Student Engagement:

Links to: Indicators
 Indicator Icon  Stand-downs, Suspensions, Exclusions and Expulsions from School
 Indicator Icon  Truancy from School

Links to: Publications
Publications Series
 Indicator Icon  Attendance and Absence in NZ schools
 Indicator Icon  Student Engagement 
Individual Publications
 Indicator Icon  Quality Teaching Early Foundations - Best Evidence Synthesis (BES)
 Indicator Icon  The Complexity of Community & Family Influences on Children’s Achievement in NZ (BES)

7. Participation

What we have found

Although the percentage of students staying at school until the age of 17.5 has changed very little since 2000, the early leaving exemption rate halved between 2006 and 2007. This was due to a fourfold increase in the number of early leaving exemption applications being declined, as well as a general decrease in applications for early exemptions.

Māori students were more than twice as likely to be granted an early leaving exemption when compared to any other ethnic group. Māori students were also less likely to stay at school until the ages of 17.5 than any other ethnic group.

Male students were more likely to be granted an early leaving exemption and less likely to stay at school until the age of 17.5 than female students.

Students from decile 1 and 2 schools were six times more likely to be granted an early leaving exemption than students from decile 9 and 10 schools. Students from decile 1 and 2 schools were also less likely to stay at school until the age of 17.5 than students from decile 9 and 10 schools.


Why this is important

Students who leave school early, many with few or no formal qualifications, are less likely to participate in further training and/or employment and are more likely to have lower incomes or be dependent on income support. The positive effect of each additional year of schooling on incomes has been estimated to range from five to 10 percent.

Students must be focused on and engaged in learning to achieve the necessary qualifications that prepare them for life-long learning. Students must be encouraged to participate and offered support by the schooling community, parents, and family/whānau.


How we are going

Early leaving exemptions

Early leaving exemptions are granted on the basis of education problems, conduct, or the improbability that a student will gain any benefit from attending available schools. Students must have a valid reason, such as moving into a training programme or employment.

In May 2007, the Ministry of Education strengthened its early-leaving application and approval process. The action involved:

  • imposing a stricter interpretation of the approved early leaving legislative criteria, which sets a very high threshold for early leaving eligibility
  • ensuring direct contact between parents and ministry staff at the first stage in the early leaving process, to actively dissuade early leaving and to support parents to find ways of keeping their children engaged in learning
  • encouraging alternatives to early leaving, such as a combination of school- and work-based learning.


This action sought to reduce the number of early leaving exemptions, and the consequential social and economic disadvantages that face those students who leave school early. The evidence so far suggests the new process has been successful. The data show:

  • between 2006 and 2007, the rate of early leaving exemptions halved from 65 per 1,000 15-year-old students to 32 per 1,000 15-year-old students (see Figure 7.1)
  • a decreased demand for early leaving exemptions from 70 to 51 applications per 1,000 15-year-old students occurred during this period; correspondingly the rate of declined early leaving exemption applications quadrupled from 4.6 to 18 per 1,000 15-year-old students
  • males had almost double the rate of early leaving exemptions as their female counterparts; 42 and 22 per 1,000 15-year-old students respectively in 2007
  • Māori students (73 per 1,000 15-year-old students) were more than two and three times more likely to be granted an early leaving exemption in 2007 than Pasifika and European/Pākehā students; 33 and 23 per 1,000 15-year-old students respectively (see Figure 7.2)
  • Asian students had a much lower early leaving exemption rate than any other ethnic group; 1.5 per 1,000 15-year-old students in 2007
  • students from decile 1 and 2 schools were six times more likely than students from decile 9 and 10 schools to be granted an early leaving exemption; 62 and 10 per 1,000 15-year-old students respectively
  • of the students who were granted an early leaving exemption in 2007, 76 percent intended to take a training course, 18 percent intended to move into full-time employment, and the remaining six percent intended to take polytechnic and university courses.


Figure 7.1: Early leaving exemption application approval and decline rates per 1,000 15-year-old students (2000 to 2007)

Figure 7.1: Early leaving exemption application approval and decline rates per 1,000 15-year-old students (2000 to 2007)
Note:

  1. Source: Ministry of Education (2008f).


Figure 7.2: Early leaving exemption rates per 1,000 15-year-old students by ethnic group (2000 to 2007)
Figure 7.2: Early leaving exemption rates per 1,000 15-year-old students by ethnic group (2000 to 2007)
Notes:
  1. Source: Ministry of Education (2008f).
  2. New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) students and foreign fee-paying students are excluded.
  3. Other school leavers are not shown as a separate series but are included under Total.


In 2001, 63 secondary schools joined the Student Engagement Initiative (SEI) to reduce the disproportionately high number of Māori suspensions, truancies, and early leaving exemptions4. These schools provide the best measurement of success in this area. The data show:

  • between 2000 and 2006, the difference in the rate of early leaving exemptions between the original SEI schools and those schools that have never been part of the SEI programme increased. In 2006, SEI schools had a rate of 93 early leaving exemptions per 1,000 15-year-old students which was 47 per 1,000 15-year-old students worse than non-SEI schools
  • Because of the strengthening of the early leaving application process the SEI school early leaving exemption rate halved to 45 per 1,000 15-year-old students in 2007: only 21 per 1,000 15-year-old students worse than non-SEI schools.


Figure 7.3: Early leaving exemption rates per 1,000 15-year-old students by Student Engagement Initiative (SEI) status (2000 to 2007)
Figure 7.3: Early leaving exemption rates per 1,000 15-year-old students by Student Engagement Initiative (SEI) status (2000 to 2007)
Notes:
  1. Source: Ministry of Education.
  2. New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) students and foreign fee-paying students are excluded.

Retention at senior secondary school

Disaggregate school leaver data was comprehensively collected for the first time in 2007 (98 percent of school leavers). This data allows the accurate calculation of school retention. The data show:

  • 75 percent of students stayed at school to the age of 17 (see Figure 7.4)
  • Asian students (94 percent) were far more likely to stay at school until age 17 than any other ethnic group, and were 23 percent more likely to stay than European/Pākehā students (77 percent)
  • 80 percent of Pasifika students stayed at school until the age of 17 compared to only 58 percent of Māori students
  • 79 percent of girls stayed at school to age 17 in 2007, compared to 73 percent of boys
  • in 2007, decile 9 and 10 students were 27 percent more likely to stay at school until the age of 17 than decile 1 and 2 students.


Figure 7.4: Estimated percentage of students staying on at school to age 17 by ethnic group (2007)

Figure 7.4: Estimated percentage of students staying on at school to age 17 by ethnic group (2007)
Notes:

  1. Source: Ministry of Education (2007c).
  2. This measure was calculated using the proportions of school leavers aged 17 or above, from a file of disaggregated school leaver records. The data included just over 98 percent of school leavers.
  3. New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) students and foreign fee-paying students are excluded.


To undertake a trend analysis of retention rates, we need to source data from aggregate school roll returns. These returns only capture the age of students in years and are a snapshot as at 1 July each year. As a result, the trend information technically generates retention to age 17.5 years old. We have used 2007 retention data from the disaggregate school leaver data collection to scale the trend results to provide comparable rates. The data show:

  • the retention rates to age 17.5 in 2007 were similar to 2000 for each ethnic group (see Figure 7.5)
  • the rise in retention rates in the late 1990s also coincided with an increase in unemployment rates over the same period, particularly for those who had no qualifications. From 1996 to 1998, there was an increase of 34 percent in unemployment rates.


Figure 7.5: Estimated percentage of students staying on at school to age 17 by ethnic group (1992 to 2007)
Figure 7.5: Estimated percentage of students staying on at school to age 17 by ethnic group (1992 to 2007)
Notes:
  1. Source: Ministry of Education.
  2. New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) students and foreign fee-paying students are excluded.
  3. This graph represents the proportion of 14-year-olds, as at 1 July, still enrolled at school three years later.
  4. This graph is based on aggregated school rolls which calculate retention to age 17.5. The data have been scaled so that the New Zealand total for 2007 matches the retention rate for 17-year-olds derived from the disaggregate data.


Where to find out more about Participation:

Links to: Indicators
 Indicator Icon  Retention of Students in Senior Secondary Schools
 Indicator Icon  Early Leaving Exemptions

Links to: Publications
Publications Series
 Indicator Icon  Student Engagement 
Individual Publications
 Indicator Icon  Quality teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling - Best Evidence Synthesis (BES)

8. Teacher education and entry into teaching

What we have found

The ratio of teachers to students in state schools5 has grown considerably since 2000. The number of full-time teaching equivalents (FTTEs) has increased by 12.6 percent between 2000 and 2007 compared to roll growth of 3.3 percent.

Over the same period, the percentage of teachers leaving the teaching profession has been stable: 9.8 percent in 2000 to 10.1 percent in 2007. Loss rates peaked at 10.9 percent in 2003.

The percentage of teacher education graduates obtaining employment in teaching has been stable since 2000, with about half of all primary teaching graduates obtaining employment as teachers and about 70 percent of all secondary teaching graduates doing the same.

Overall, the data show that the majority of schools are able to employ adequate numbers of staff, with only 1.3 percent of schools having one or more FTTE positions that they were unable to fill for the entire year.

Why this is important

The quality of teaching is one of the single most important factors in improving outcomes for students. The demand for and supply of teachers is an important foundation for quality. Schools need to have sufficient teachers for the mix of students at different year levels. Within the schooling sector as a whole, there is a need to balance the demand for experienced teachers with the need to employ and mentor less experienced teachers, and to ensure that teaching remains a valued profession so that staff can be attracted and retained within schools.


What we have found

Teacher numbers

The number of teachers in state schools is largely driven by the number of students, with other factors such as changes in student-to-staff ratios also playing a part (discussed in the next section). Since 2000, the number of students has increased by 3.3 percent, compared to a 12.6 percent increase in the number of full-time teaching equivalents (FTTEs). The data show:

  • the number of FTTEs in primary schools has grown by 3.4 percent since 2000, compared to a 2.5 percent decrease in the number of students
  • there has been strong growth in the number of FTTEs in secondary schools since 2000, with an increase of 22.7 percent compared to a 13.8 percent increase in the number of students. Much of the growth in teacher numbers was between 2003 and 2005, with growth slowing down in the past few years
  • there have been slight changes in the proportion of teachers who are female since 2000. In 2007, 81.2 percent of primary school teachers were female (compared to 79.6 percent in 2000) and 56.7 percent of secondary teachers were female (compared to 53.6 percent in 2000)
  • the average age of teachers has changed little over the period from 2000 to 2007, increasing from 44 to 45.

Student-to-teacher ratios

Student-to-teacher ratios measure the resources devoted to teaching and managing students. The overall ratio used here is a broad measure that includes management teachers and special education teachers.

  • the overall ratio for primary schools has improved from 19.4 students per teacher to 18.1 students per teacher between 2000 and 2007
  • the overall ratio for secondary schools has improved from 15.8 students per teacher to 14.4 students per teacher between 2000 and 2007.

Table 8.1: Ratio of students to teaching staff at state schools (2000 to 2007)

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Primary/intermediate 19.4 19.0 19.1 19.1 18.8 18.8 18.4 18.1
Composite 14.8 14.3 14.0 13.5 13.4 12.7 12.3 12.2
Secondary 15.5 15.5 15.7 15.4 15.2 14.8 14.5 14.4
Notes:
  1. Source: Ministry of Education.
  2. The primary and intermediate ratios are based on July rolls. The secondary and composite ratios are based on March rolls.


Teacher losses

Teacher loss rates are measured in May of each year by comparing the teachers who were on the payroll in the previous May with those who are currently on the payroll. Staff who take leave without pay (including maternity leave) are regarded as losses.

Loss rates can be affected by many factors including the local labour market conditions, staff morale, and the age structure of the teaching workforce. While loss rates have increased from 2000 (when 9.8 percent of teachers left the teaching workforce) to 2007 (10.1 percent), they have varied quite considerably over this period. The data show:

  • loss rates in the primary sector were 10.0 percent in 2000 and had increased to 10.5 percent in 2007. Loss rates peaked during this period at 11.1 percent in 2003
  • secondary sector loss rates are generally lower than primary loss rates. They have shown similar trends to primary, increasing from 9.5 percent in 2000 to 9.9 percent in 2007. Loss rates peaked during this period at 11.1 percent in 2002
  • loss rates are highest in the younger and older age groups. In the 25- to 29-year-old age group, 20.1 percent left the teaching workforce in 2007, compared to 45- to 49-year-olds who had the lowest loss rate of 5.9 percent. High loss rates in the younger ages are largely due to teachers going on leave without pay (maternity leave, for example), which accounts for 42.3 percent of losses in the 25- to 29-year-old age group, or to go overseas (28.1 percent of this group). In the older age groups, teachers are generally retiring (73.2 percent of those aged 65 plus who left teaching). (See Figure 8.1)
  • earlier research has shown that the majority of teachers who are on leave without pay return to teaching. Sixty-one percent return after one year and around about 80 percent return within six years
  • loss rates vary across the country, depending on changes in student rolls in the area and the local labour market conditions. Within regions, the primary and secondary sectors can show quite different patterns. In the primary sector in 2007, losses were highest in Taranaki, West Coast, Nelson, Marlborough, and Tasman regions. In the secondary sector in 2007, losses were highest in the West Coast, followed by Wellington and Auckland
  • in the primary school sector in 2007, the higher the school decile the higher the loss rate. Low decile primary schools had a loss rate of 9.7 percent compared to 10.3 percent for medium decile schools and 11.3 percent for high decile schools. Secondary schools show little difference between the deciles.


Figure 8.1: Percentage of teaching staff who left the state teaching workforce by age range (May 2003 to 2007)
Figure 8.1: Percentage of teaching staff who left the state teaching workforce by age range (May 2003 to 2007)
Note:
  1. Source: Ministry of Education.


Teacher education enrolments

Teacher education enrolments change in response to the demand for teachers. However as many teaching qualifications can take three to four years study, the responsiveness of enrolments to demand can be slow. The data show:

  • enrolments in primary teacher education are considerably higher than in secondary teacher education, reflecting the relative sizes of these sectors
  • enrolments in both sectors have been declining; since 2000 for primary teaching and since 2003 for secondary teaching (see Figure 8.2).


Figure 8.2: Number of primary and secondary teacher education enrolments (1994 to 2006)Figure 8.2: Number of primary and secondary teacher education enrolments (1994 to 2006)
Note:
  1. Source: Ministry of Education.


New teachers in schools

The number of new teachers in schools depends on the demand for teachers, the number of teacher education graduates that are available and a school’s preference or need for more experienced teachers. The data show:

  • since 2000, about half of all primary teacher education graduates have obtained teaching positions in New Zealand state schools. For secondary teacher education graduates the figure has been about 70 percent (see Figure 8.3). In both sectors, the majority of graduates that gained a position did so within a year of graduating
  • in 2007, 3.4 percent of teachers were beginning teachers6 compared to 3.5 percent in 2000
  • while the majority of beginning teachers are under the age of 30, there are still a sizeable proportion of older beginning teachers (37.4 percent)
  • regions most likely to hire beginning teachers are West Coast (beginning teachers make up 6.1 percent of the teaching workforce), Southland (4.2 percent), and Auckland (4.1 percent). Hawkes Bay is the region least likely to hire beginning teachers (2.4 percent).

Figure 8.3: Teacher education graduates gaining first time employment as teachers (2000 to 2006)
Figure 8.3: Teacher education graduates gaining first time employment as teachers (2000 to 2006)
Notes:
  1. Source: Ministry of Education.


Adequacy of teacher supply

All of the above elements are important aspects of the overall teaching workforce; however it is the way in which they interact that determines whether schools are able to be adequately staffed. One way of assessing this is to look at the extent to which schools have been able to use the majority of their government-funded staffing. The data show:

  • only a very small percentage of schools (1.3 percent) had the degree of difficulty recruiting or retaining staff to the extent that one or more FTTE positions was not used during the course of the 2007 year
  • in 2007, 82.1 percent of schools finished the school year with less than 0.25 of a funded FTTE unused. This compares to 87.4 percent in 2002
  • primary schools were more likely to have adequate staffing levels, with 85.4 percent having less than 0.25 FTTE unused, compared to 74.9 percent of secondary schools. The lower percentage for secondary schools is likely to be a result of the greater level of demand for teachers due to roll growth in secondary schools and the greater degree of specialisation that teachers are required to have
  • schools in the Otago, West Coast, and Gisborne regions were more likely to be fully staffed whereas those in the Auckland, Bay of Plenty, and Nelson regions were more likely to have some difficulties
  • in addition to government-funded staffing, schools were also able to fund teachers themselves through their operational funding or fund raising, and so on. In 2007, 5.1 percent of the teaching workforce was employed over and above government staffing ratios, compared to 4.0 percent in 2000.


Where to find out more about Teacher Education and Entry into Teaching:

Links to: Publications
Publications Series
 Indicator Icon  Teacher Loss Rates 
 Indicator Icon  Monitoring Teacher Supply

9. Knowledge - Secondary Years

What we have found

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study looks at the ability of 15-year-old (predominantly Year 11) students to apply their reading, mathematics, and science learning to real-life situations. In 2006, 15-year-old New Zealand students achieved significantly higher mean scores than the international mean for reading, mathematics, and science. Of the 30 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries that participated in PISA:

  • only two OECD countries achieved a significantly better mean reading literacy score than New Zealand
  • only three OECD countries achieved a significantly better mean mathematical literacy score than New Zealand
  • only one OECD country achieved a significantly better mean scientific literacy score than New Zealand.

Fifteen-year-old girls scored higher than boys in reading, while boys scored higher than girls in mathematics. The scores for science were similar.

Fifteen-year-old European/Pākehā and Asian students achieved higher levels in reading, mathematics, and science than their Māori and Pasifika counterparts.


Why this is important

Knowledge gained at secondary level contributes to students’ likelihood of successful participation in tertiary education and/or future employment. Achievement at secondary level contributes to a student’s wellbeing and his or her ability to participate as responsible and informed members of today’s knowledge-based society.

Achievement in reading, mathematics, and science gives students the knowledge and skills to deal with everyday life and provide a basis for further study. Skills developed during secondary education (including time management, budgeting, problem-solving, and thinking logically and creatively) prepare students for everyday situations such as flatting, studying, and working.


How we are going

Reading achievement

In 2006, PISA found New Zealand 15-year-old students had a mean reading achievement score significantly above the OECD mean. The data show:

  • New Zealand students performed highly in 2006 and only two OECD countries (Korea and Finland) achieved a mean score that was significantly better. Hong Kong-China also achieved a high mean score
  • more New Zealand students achieved at the top proficiency levels in reading than the OECD average. Sixteen percent of New Zealand students achieved at the highest level (level 5) compared to nine percent for the OECD average. Similarly,40 percent of New Zealand students achieved at level 4 or above compared to an OECD average of 29 percent
  • 15 percent of New Zealand students did not reach beyond the lowest level of reading literacy (level 1), which was statistically better than the average across the OECD countries (20 percent)
  • girls in New Zealand achieved a significantly higher mean reading score than boys. Nineteen percent of girls achieved at the highest level of proficiency compared to 12 percent of boys. Correspondingly, while 10 percent of girls were unable to demonstrate proficiency above level 1, 20 percent of boys were unable to achieve above this level
  • Māori and Pasifika students achieved significantly lower mean reading scores than their Asian and European/Pākehā counterparts. Asian students achieved a significantly lower mean reading score than European/Pākehā students (see Figure 9.1)
  • between 2000 and 2006, there was no significant change in New Zealand’s average performance; despite a slight decrease over the period, New Zealand’s mean reading score was still significantly above that of the OECD.



Figure 9.1: Reading literacy proficiency levels by ethnic group (2006)

Figure 9.1: Reading literacy proficiency levels by ethnic group (2006)
Note:

  1. Source: Telford and Caygill (2007).


Mathematics achievement

In 2006, PISA found 15-year-old New Zealand students had a mean mathematics score significantly above the OECD average. The data show:

  • New Zealand performed highly in 2006 and only three OECD countries (Korea, the Netherlands, and Finland) achieved a mean score that was significantly better. Chinese-Taipei and Hong Kong-China also achieved a high mean
  • significantly more New Zealand students (19 percent) achieved at the top proficiency levels (level 5 or above) in mathematical literacy than the OECD average (13 percent)
  • 14 percent of New Zealand students did not reach beyond the lowest level of mathematical literacy (level 1). This proportion was statistically better than the average across the OECD countries (21 percent)
  • boys scored significantly higher than girls, a trend common to the majority of OECD countries
  • the mean mathematics scores for Asian and European/Pākehā students were significantly higher than their Māori and Pasifika counterparts (see Figure 9.2)
  • between 2003 and 2006, there has been no significant change in New Zealand’s average student performance, with the New Zealand mean mathematics score still greater than the OECD mean.



Figure 9.2: Mathematics literacy proficiency levels by ethnic group (2006)
Figure 9.2: Mathematics literacy proficiency levels by ethnic group (2006)
Note:

  1. Source: Telford and Caygill (2007).


Science achievement

In 2006, PISA found 15-year-old New Zealand students had a mean science score significantly above the OECD average. The data show:

  • New Zealand performed highly in 2006 and only one OECD country (Finland) achieved a mean score that was significantly better. Hong Kong-China also achieved a high mean
  • New Zealand and Finland had the largest proportion of students achieving the highest proficiency levels in scientific literacy, with 18 percent of New Zealand students reaching level 5 or above compared to the OECD average of nine percent
  • 14 percent of New Zealand students did not reach beyond the lowest level of scientific literacy (level 1), a proportion which was significantly smaller than the average across the OECD countries (19 percent)
  • there was no significant difference between the mean science scores of 15 year-old boys and girls
  • Māori and Pasifika students achieved significantly lower mean science literacy scores than their European/Pākehā and Asian counterparts, while Asian students achieved significantly lower mean science literacy score than European/Pākehā students (see Figure 9.3)
  • due to changes in the way scientific literacy has been assessed, no comparisons can be made with the results from the 2000 and 2003 PISA students.


Figure 9.3: Science literacy proficiency levels by ethnic group (2006)
Figure 9.3: Science literacy proficiency levels by ethnic group (2006)
Note:

  1. Source: Telford and Caygill (2007).

Where to find out more about Knowledge - Secondary Years:

Links to: Indicators
 Indicator Icon  Reading Literacy Achievement: Senior Secondary Schooling
 Indicator Icon  Mathematics Achievement: Middle Schooling
 Indicator Icon  Mathematics Achievement: Senior Secondary Schooling
 Indicator Icon  Science Achievement: Middle Schooling
 Indicator Icon  Science Literacy Achievement: Senior Secondary Schooling

Links to: Publications
Publications Series
 Indicator Icon  PISA 2006 (Programme for International Student Assessment)
 Indicator Icon  TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study)
Individual Publications
 Indicator Icon  Quality teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling - Best Evidence Synthesis (BES)

10. School Leavers – Qualifications

What we have found

Since the introduction of National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA),7 proportionately more students have left school with qualifications than in previous years. Since 2002, there has been a large 73 percent decrease in the proportion of students leaving school with little or no formal attainment and a 22 percent increase in the proportion of students leaving with NCEA Level 1 or above.

Since 2003, there has been a 25 percent increase in the proportion of students leaving with NCEA Level 2 or above. In just the past two years, there has been a 22 percent increase in the proportion of school leavers attaining a university entrance standard qualification.

For all qualifications over the same period of time, the gap between Māori achievement and the achievement of the other ethnic groups closed. Pasifika achievement also made gains on other ethnic groups.

Girls continue to outperform boys but gaps are narrowing, with the exception of achievement in university entrance standard.


Why this is important

School leaver data provides a way of measuring the cumulative performance of students. It shows the overall success of schools in ensuring that students are adequately equipped to participate in society, the labour market, and further education.

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.


How we are going

The overall picture for 2007 school leavers is positive, with the evidence showing raised levels of achievement. Key indicators suggest that the introduction of NCEA has had a positive effect, with almost two in every five school leavers attaining a university entrance standard. The proportion of school leavers attaining a university entrance standard was almost eight times greater than the proportion of school leavers with little or no formal attainment (see Table 10.1).

Table 10.1: Highest attainment of school leavers (2007)
Highest Attainment% of
Māori Students
% of
Pasifika Students
% of
Asian Students
% of
Other Students
% of European
/Pakeha Students
% of All
School
Leaver Students
UE, Levell 3 Qual* or higher18.3 20.265.736.544.039.0
Halfway to Level 3 Qual18.114.5 9.013.07.5 8.5
Level 2 Qual17.5 21.29.517.5 19.118.1
Halfway to Level 2 Qual212.214.06.210.8 8.09.2
Level 1 qualification 9.24.01.8 3.77.36.8
Halfway to Level 1 Qual314.5 11.9

2.9

6.5

6.7

8.3
Less than halfway to Level 1 Qual410.07.82.45.33.95.2
Little or no formal attainment5>10.1 6.32.56.7 3.54.9
Total100100100100 100 100
Notes:
  1. 30+ credits at Level 3 or above.
  2. 30+ credits at Level 2 or above.
  3. 40+ credits at Level 1 or above.
  4. 14–39 credits at Level 1 or above.
  5. 0 credits or 1–13 at Level 1, 2 or 3.
  6. Qual = Qualification.
  7. Source: Ministry of Education.


School leavers with little or no formal attainment

In 2007, only five percent of all school leavers left school with little or no formal attainment.8Since the introduction of NCEA in 2002, all ethnic groups have seen reductions in the proportion of students leaving with little or no formal attainment (see Figure 10.1). The data show:

  • between 2002 and 2007, the proportion of school leavers with little or no formal attainment decreased from 18 percent to five percent; a 73 percent decrease in the proportion of school leavers with little or no formal attainment
  • since 2002 the proportions of each ethnic group leaving school with little or no formal attainment has decreased by between 71 and 76 percent
  • approximately one in every 10 Māori students left school with little or no formal attainment in 2007, half the rate of 2006. However, Māori were four times more likely than Asian (2.5 percent), almost three times more likely than European/Pākehā (3.5 percent), and one-and-a-half times more likely than Pasifika (6.3 percent) to leave school with little or no formal attainment
  • the gap between boys’ and girls’ performance has continued to narrow, with 5.2 percent of boys and 4.7 percent of girls leaving school with little or no formal attainment
  • leavers from decile 9 and 10 schools (1.8 percent) were half as likely as leavers from decile 5 and 6 schools (five percent) and five times less likely than leavers from decile 1 and 2 schools (10 percent) to leave with little or no formal attainment.


Figure 10.1: Percentage of school leavers with little or no formal attainment by ethnic group (1993 to 2007)

Figure 10.1: Percentage of school leavers with little or no formal attainment by ethnic group (1993 to 2007)
Notes:

  1. Source: Ministry of Education (2008g).
  2. 1993-2001: No formal attainment or less than 12 credits at National Certificate.
  3. 2002-2004: No formal attainment or 1-13 credits at NCEA level 1.
  4. 2005-2006: No formal attainment or 1-13 credits at any NCEA level.


School leavers with NCEA Level 1 or above

NCEA Level 1 was introduced in 2002. Eighty-two percent of all school leavers in 2007 achieved at least an NCEA Level 1 or equivalent qualification (see Figure 10.2). The data show:

  • between 2002 and 2007, the proportion of school leavers with NCEA Level 1 increased from 67 percent to 82 percent; a 22 percent increase
  • in 2007, Māori had the lowest proportion of school leavers with at least NCEA Level 1 (65 percent) compared to Pasifika (74 percent), European/Pākehā (86 percent), and Asian (92 percent) school leavers
  • since 2002, however, Māori have had the greatest increase of school leavers with at least NCEA Level 1; at 49 percent, it is almost twice the rate of Pasifika (25 percent). These were followed by European/Pākehā (19 percent) and Asian (seven percent), which indicates that the disparities between the ethnic groups are reducing
  • there was very little difference between girls (84 percent) and boys (79 percent) attaining NCEA Level 1 in 2007
  • leavers from decile 9 and 10 schools (92 percent) were 35 percent more likely than leavers from decile 1 and 2 schools (68 percent) to achieve at least NCEA Level 1 in 2007.


Figure 10.2: Percentage of school leavers with NCEA Level 1 or above by ethnic group (1993 to 2007)

Figure 10.2: Percentage of school leavers with NCEA Level 1 or above by ethnic group (1993 to 2007)
Note:

  1. Source: Ministry of Education (2008h).


School leavers with NCEA Level 2 or above

NCEA Level 2 was introduced in 2003. Sixty-six percent of all school leavers in 2007 achieved at least an NCEA Level 2 or equivalent qualification (see Figure 10.3). The data show:

  • between 2003 and 2007, the proportion of school leavers with NCEA Level 2 increased from 53 percent to 66 percent
  • Asian students had the highest proportion of school leavers with at least NCEA Level 2 (84 percent). This was followed by European/Pākehā (71 percent), Pasifika (56 percent), and Māori (44 percent)
  • since 2003, all ethnic groups have had an increase in the proportion of school leavers attaining at least an NCEA Level 2 qualification. During this period Māori school leavers had the largest proportional increase (52 percent), followed by Pasifika (32 percent), European/Pākehā (23 percent) and Asian (12 percent); which indicates the disparity between ethnic groups is reducing
  • decile 9 and 10 school leavers (82 percent) were considerably more likely to attain at least NCEA Level 2 than decile 1 and 2 school leavers (48 percent).


Figure 10.3: Percentage of school leavers with NCEA Level 2 or above by ethnic group (1993 to 2007)

Figure 10.3: Percentage of school leavers with NCEA Level 2 or above by ethnic group (1993 to 2007)
Note:

  1. Source: Ministry of Education (2008i).
  2. Due to methodological changes in the allocation of attainment levels in 2004, for leavers achieving a qualification between little or no formal attainment and university entrance standard, the percentages of leavers with at least NCEA Level 2 in 2004 is not comparable with other years and has been omitted.
  3. A direct comparison can not be made between rates up to and including 2002 with rates for 2003 on, due to the change in qualification structure.


School leavers achieving a university entrance standard

Students attaining an entrance qualification are able to go directly into degree-level study. Thirty-nine percent of school leavers in 2007 achieved a university entrance standard (see Figure 10.4). The data show:

  • between 2004, when NCEA Level 3 was introduced, and 2007, the proportion of school leavers achieving a university entrance standard increased by 22 percent
  • Asian students had the highest proportion of school leavers achieving a university entrance standard in 2007, with 66 percent. This was followed by European/Pākehā (44 percent), Pasifika (20 percent), and Māori (18 percent)
  • since 2004, the proportions of Māori and Pasifika school leavers achieving a university entrance qualification have increased by 56 percent and 44 percent respectively. Compared to European/Pākehā (19 percent) and Asian (17 percent) increases over the same period, the implication is that disparities between the ethnic groups are reducing
  • girls (45 percent) were more likely than boys (33 percent) to achieve a university entrance standard. This gap has persisted since the early 1990s and has generally been steadily increasing
  • decile 9 and 10 leavers (60 percent) were more than three times more likely than leavers from decile 1 and 2 schools (19 percent) to have the opportunity to enter directly into degree-level study.


Figure 10.4: Percentage of school leavers with a university entrance qualification by ethnic group (1993 to 2007)

Figure 10.4: Percentage of school leavers with a university entrance qualification by ethnic group (1993 to 2007)
Note:

  1. Source: Ministry of Education (2008j).


Where to find out more about School Leavers - Qualifications

Links to: Indicators
 Indicator Icon  School Leavers with NCEA Level 1 or Above
 Indicator Icon  School Leavers with NCEA Level 2 or Above
 Indicator Icon  School Leavers with a University Entrance Standard

Links to: Publications
 Indicator Icon  Quality teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling - Best Evidence Synthesis (BES)

11. School leavers - transition to tertiary

What we have found

The proportion of school leavers who make a direct transition into tertiary education has increased steadily since 1998 for all ethnic groups.9 The increase has been more pronounced for Māori and Pasifika school leavers than Asian and European/Pākehā school leavers.

There was a dramatic increase in the proportion of school leavers making a direct transition into industry training courses between 1998 and 2006. During this time the proportion of school leavers who made a direct transition into Level 4 certificate or Level 5-7 diploma courses also increased.

School leavers who obtained university entrance or a higher qualification were far more likely to enrol in a Level 7 bachelors degree course than any other level course. Two-thirds of school leavers making a direct transition into industry training attained a school qualification between NCEA Level 1 and halfway towards an NCEA Level 3.


Why this is important

Tertiary education offers a range of courses to suit the background of each learner, from low-level certificate courses through to undergraduate degrees and advanced research-based postgraduate degrees. What level in tertiary they initially enter is highly correlated with the level of school qualification they achieve.

In order to maximise opportunities in tertiary education, clear pathways must be developed and maintained to help young people make the transition from school to tertiary level study. Encouraging students to stay at school and providing appropriate, timely, useful careers guidance and advice about different learning programmes and pathways, better prepares students for tertiary education. It has also been found that school leavers enrolling directly from school are more likely to complete their studies and more likely to progress on to higher levels of study. 10


How we are going

The number of students making a direct transition to tertiary education has increased since the late 1990s. The data show:

  • almost two-thirds (64 percent) of all school leavers from 2006 made a direct transition into tertiary education, compared to 48 percent of all school leavers from 1998. This increase was largely due to school leavers enrolling in lower level certificate courses
  • 25 percent of 2006 school leavers made a direct transition into Level 7 bachelors degree courses, 13 percent enrolled in Level 4 certificates or Level 5-7 diplomas, and 19 percent enrolled in Level 1-3 certificates (see Figure 11.1)
  • there was an eight-fold increase in the proportion of school leavers making a direct transition into industry training courses; from 0.9 percent in 1998 to 7.2 percent in 2006 (see Figure 11.1).


Figure 11.1: Percentage of school leavers making a direct transition to tertiary education by award level and year of enrolment (1998 to 2006)

Figure 10.4: Percentage of school leavers with a university entrance qualification by ethnic group (1993 to 2007)
Notes:

  1. Source: Ministry of Education (2007d).
  2. New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) and foreign fee-paying students are excluded.


The data show:

  • 79 percent of Asian school leavers from 2006 made a direct transition into tertiary study compared to 63 percent of European/Pākehā school leavers: an increase of more than 20 percent between 1998 and 2006 for both of these ethnic groups (see Figure 11.2)
  • between 1998 and 2006, the number of Māori and Pasifika school leavers making a direct transition into tertiary education increased from 59 percent to 82 percent and from 61 percent to 66 percent respectively (see Figure 11.2)
  • school leavers from decile 9 and 10 schools (72 percent) were more likely than students from decile 1 and 2 schools (53 percent) to make a direct transition into tertiary education.


Figure 11.2: Percentage of school leavers making a direct transition to tertiary education by ethnic group and year of enrolment (1998 to 2006)

Figure 11.2: Percentage of school leavers making a direct transition to tertiary education by ethnic group and year of enrolment (1998 to 2006)
Notes:

  1. Source: Ministry of Education (2007d).
  2. New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) and foreign fee-paying students are excluded.
  3. Other school leavers are not shown as a separate series but are included under Total.


In 2006, school leavers who obtained university entrance or higher were far more likely to enrol in a Level 7 bachelors degree course than any other level course. Those who obtained NCEA Level 2 or were halfway towards an NCEA Level 3 were more likely to enrol in Level 4 certificate, Level 5-7 diploma, or Level 1-3 certificate courses. Those who obtained an NCEA Level 1, were halfway towards an NCEA Level 2, or obtained no qualifications were more likely to enrol in Level 1-3 certificate courses. The data show:

  • 87 percent of 2006 school leavers who obtained a university entrance standard or higher enrolled for tertiary education (see Figure 11.3)
  • of those 2006 school leaves who left with a school qualification between NCEA Level 1 and halfway towards an NCEA Level 3, just over 60 percent enrolled for tertiary education
  • only 36 percent of 2006 school leavers with no qualifications made a direct transition into tertiary education
  • of school leavers who obtained a university entrance standard and made a direct transition into tertiary education in 2006, 73 percent enrolled for a Level 7 bachelors degree, 23 percent enrolled in Level 4 certificate, Level 5-7 diploma or Level 1-3 certificate courses, and 3.4 percent undertook industry training
  • in 2006, two-thirds of the school leavers who made a direct transition into industry training had previously attained a school qualification between NCEA Level 1 and halfway towards an NCEA Level 3.


Figure 11.3: Percentage of school leavers making a direct transition to tertiary education by tertiary award level and highest school qualification (2006)
Figure 11.3: Percentage of school leavers making a direct transition to tertiary education by tertiary award level and highest school qualification (2006)
Notes:

  1. Source: Ministry of Education (2007d).
  2. New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) and foreign fee-paying students are excluded.
  3. A small proportion of school leavers with no qualifications appear to have made a direct transition to Level 7 bachelors degree study. This relates to a small number of students who do not have a qualification on the National Qualifications Framework, although they are likely to have an overseas qualification that allows direct entrance to university.


Where to find out more about School Leavers - Transition to Tertiary:

Links to: Indicators
 Indicator Icon  School leavers entering tertiary education

Links to: Publications
Publication Series
 Indicator Icon  Profile and Trends: New Zealand's Tertiary Education Sector
Individual Publications
 Indicator Icon  Quality teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling - Best Evidence Synthesis (BES)

Footnotes

  1. See Chamberlain, M. (2007); Chamberlain, M. (2008) for further details.
  2. See Caygill, R. (2008); Caygill, R. & Kirkham, S. (2008a); Caygill, R. & Kirkham, S. (2008b) for further details.
  3. TIMSS is no longer reporting international means because of the volatile movements in means as more countries join the study.
  4. See the chapter on technical notes for more details on the SEI.
  5. Includes state and state integrated schools. Most of the data presented in this chapter is sourced from payroll records, which are only available for state and state integrated schools.
  6. Beginning teachers are those in their first year of teaching who are receiving a beginning teacher time allowance; overseas and retrained teachers are excluded. To receive the allowance teachers must have completed a registered course in teacher training, have completed less than 12 months teaching, and be appointed to a position for at least 10 weeks.
  7. NCEA Level 1 was introduced in 2002, followed by Level 2 in 2003 and Level 3 in 2004.
  8. Little or no formal attainment is equivalent of 0 credits or 1-13 credits at Level 1, 2 or 3.
  9. A student is regarded as having made a direct transition to tertiary when they start tertiary study by the end of the calendar year; that is the year after they leave school.
  10. Loader, M. & Dalgety, J. (2006).

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