School Leavers

This is a comprehensive measure that includes all New Zealand secondary students at a distinct point of time in every student’s schooling life, namely when they finish school. This is the main reporting measure for the Ministry of Education. School leaver data forms the basis of a number of measures, including highest attainment, school leaver destinations (when combined with tertiary data), and retention at school.

Introduction

School leavers is our main measure of secondary student attainment.  This is a comprehensive measure.  It focuses on a distinct point of time in every student’s schooling life, namely when they finish school.  As such this measure in theory captures all students. And while it is based on NCEA results the measure also captures attainment information on students using other assessments including, Cambridge International Assessment, and International Baccalaureate. More information about this collection can be found on the School Leavers Data Collection page.

School leaver data forms the basis of a number of measures, including highest attainment, school leaver destinations (when combined with tertiary data), and retention at school. For a simple summary of each of these measures please read the appropriate education sector indicator:

Interactive Dashboard

The buttons at the top of the dashboard control what is on the bottom axis of the graph. To filter the data use any of the Region, School or Student filters on the left. To switch between the filters use the buttons titled "Region", "School" and "Student".  By default the dashboard only shows data from the most recent year. To select other years use the dropdown in the top left (under “Filters”).

Ethnicity shows the ethnic group or groups a student identifies with.  For school leaver data this is total response, that is, leavers are counted in each ethnic group they identify with.  This means that you cannot sum the different ethnic groups to get a total as some students will be counted multiple times.  To avoid this we have added a Total value for ethnicity, where individuals are only counted once.  By default Ethnicity is set to Total.

You can expand the dashboard by pressing the ⤢ icon in the bottom right corner of the dashboard.

Read the instructions (pdf 74kB) for more guidance on using the School Leaver: Highest Attainment dashboard.

Time Series Data

These spreadsheets provide numbers and percentages of students by different highest attainment levels for a range of dimensions (such as Māori medium and English medium education, region, school authority, ethnicity) across time in a simple, easy to use format.

Pivot Tables

This pivot table allows you to create your own tables by any combination of variables. Includes the option of displaying number of school leavers by highest attainment for a range of variables, such as, region, school authority, and ethnicity.

Machine Readable Data

The following data have been provided in a format (csv) that can easily be processed by a computer. It contains the same data that are in the school leaver pivot table.

School Leaver Data Technical Notes

Inclusive and exclusive criteria

School leavers in 2018 are students that permanently left school to enter the workforce and/or undertake further education and training sometime between 1 March 2018 and the last day of February 2019 (inclusive). School leavers are identified using ENROL. Students counted as school leavers are:

  • Domestic students who were aged less than 19 in their first enrolment in ENROL; including alternative education students, students 16 or over before 1 March 2019 and students attending teen parent units.
  • Students with leave reason; 'end of schooling' or 'early leaving exemption'
  • Students with leave reason 'transferred to another school in New Zealand' or 'transferred to home schooling' but did not reenrol in ENROL
  • Students with leave reason 'gone overseas permanently', who meet the age criteria
  • Students who attend for a period of time at the start of 2019 but leave before 1 March 2019 are counted with 2018 leavers.

This excludes:

  • Returning students (aged 19 or more) with a gap in their attendance
  • Exchange students
  • International fee-paying students
  • Students who successfully transferred to homeschooling or another school in New Zealand
  • Deceased students

Alternative education students are counted with the school that enrolled them in alternative education, this may not be the school that manages their enrolment while they are in alternative education. This is to reflect that the enrolling school is responsible for ensuring the students’ education needs are met.

Interpretation Issues

Literacy and Numeracy: In 2013, students were required to obtain 10 literacy and 10 numeracy credits at level 1 to achieve an NCEA Level 1 qualification. This is an increase on the 8 credits previously required to achieve NCEA Level 1.  No historical adjustment has been made for this change.

University Entrance Award requirements: A change in the requirements for the University Entrance Award came into effect in 2014. This strengthening of the requirements means care needs to be taken when comparing results before 2014 with 2014 onwards.

Ethnicity: Total response ethnicity has been used for school levers.  Total response ethnicity is when people who have been identified in more than one ethnic group have been counted in each ethnic group.  For the New Zealand total, individuals are counted only once.

For this data European/Pākehā refers to people who affiliate as New Zealand European, Other European or European (not further defined).  For example, this includes and is not limited to people who consider themselves as Australian (excluding Australian Aborigines), British and Irish, American, Spanish, and Ukrainian.

School Data Dimension Notes

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Student Age:
The age of the student (in years) as at their last day of attendance. Students are legally required to attend schooling until age 16, unless they are granted early leaving exemption. However, a number of students are aged 15 on their last day of attendance and turn 16 during school holidays.

Student Gender:
The gender of the students, as recorded in ENROL.

Ethnic Group:
The ethnic group(s) the student identifies with, as recorded in ENROL. The ethnic group data is presented at level 1 and total response. That is, leavers are counted once in each ethnic group they identify with.

Students can be counted in up to three different ethnic groups but only once in the total, therefore the sum of the different ethnic groups will likely exceed the total.  Ethnic groups should not be combined as some students will be counted twice.

School Sector:
Schools are grouped (by school type) into four main sectors of schooling education: Secondary, Composite, Special, and Not Applicable.

Not applicable includes students in Homeschooling, special education leavers from primary schools, and students with no school sector information available.

School Type:
The type of the school, for example, Composite (Year 1 to 15), Secondary (Year 7 to 15), Secondary (Year 9 to 15) the leaver left from.

Not applicable includes students in Homeschooling, special education leavers from primary schools, and students with no school type information available.

School Authority:
The ownership of the school for example State, State-Integrated, and Private.

School Gender:
The gender of the students that a school caters for, for example, co-educational, or single sex. A small number of single sex schools can have some students of the opposite sex on their roll. These students can only access the education they need at these 'opposite sex' schools i.e. adults or special needs students.

Decile:
The decile assigned to the school. Students from low socio-economic communities face more barriers to learning than students from high socio-economic communities. Schools that draw their roll from these low socio-economic communities are given greater funding to combat these barriers. The mechanism used to calculate and allocate this additional funding is most often known as school deciles.

Schools are assigned a socio-economic score based on five census derived socio-economic factors. Decile 1 schools are the 10% of schools with the greatest proportion of students from the most socio-economically deprived areas.  Decile 10 schools are the 10% of schools with the greatest proportion of students from the least socio-economically deprived areas.

Education Region:
The education region the school of the student is located in. These are ten administrative regions created by the Ministry of Education and aligned with the Ministry's ten local offices.

Not Applicable includes students attending homeschooling, students whose school campus covers more than one region, and students with no regional information available.  The Correspondence School is defined as a separate boundary.

Regional Council:
The regional council area the school of the student is located in. Regional council boundaries are defined by Statistics New Zealand. Not Applicable includes students whose school campus covers more than one region, and students with no regional information available. The correspondence school is defined as a separate boundary.

Territorial Authority:
The territorial authority area the school of the student is located in. Territorial authority boundaries are defined by Statistics New Zealand. Please note that Auckland Territorial Authority is further broken down into local board. Not Applicable includes students whose school campus covers more than one region, and students with no regional information available. The correspondence school is defined as a separate boundary.

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If you have any questions about education data then please contact us at:
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