Student Register; upper secondary and tertiary level

0. Registration entry for subjects

0.1 Name

Student Register; upper secondary and tertiary level

0.2 Subject area


0.3 Responsible authority; office, division, person etc.

Department: Department of Wages, Income and Education
Contact: Haukur Pálsson, phone +354 528 1042

0.4 Purpose and history

Statistics Iceland has collected data since 1975 on the educational careers of students at the upper secondary and tertiary level. Data are collected once a year for the autumn term only. The purpose of this data collection, which comprises a longitudinal student register, is to provide an overview of the upper secondary and tertiary school system, number and flow of students within the system and to produce data for both domestic and international comparison.

0.5 Users and application

Users: Ministries, municipalities, private and public organisations, scientists.
Application: Analysis and planning in public and private organisations, scientific investigations, and public debate.

0.6 Sources

The Student Register is based on annual reports from the educational institutions, a centralised database called INNA, information on apprentices and data from the Icelandic Student Loan Fund (L.Í.N.). Data are collected each year with 15th of October as a reference date. The reports contain students ID, line of study, mode of teaching, students progress and amount of study. In addition, schools at the tertiary level are asked from which country the students completed matriculation examination, or another exam giving access to the tertiary level. Accompanying the data request from schools at the upper secondary level is a request for information about students learning foreign languages.

0.7 Legal basis for official statistics

Act on Statistics Iceland No. 163/2007. Act on Upper Secondary Schools No. 92/2008 and Act on Universities No. 63/2006. A clause in special agreements between the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture and schools about delivering data to Statistics Iceland.

0.8 Response burden

The response burden is minimal. Most data for the upper secondary level are collected from a centralised database. Some institutions at the upper secondary level and all institutions at the tertiary level which do not use this centralised database report by email and send documents from their students' database. Their response burden depends on how many students they have enrolled.

0.9 EEA and EU obligations

The data collection is in accordance with European standards and in collaboration with Eurostat. Data are delivered to Eurostat and other international organizations.

1. Contents

1.1 Description of content

The Student Register comprises the following variables which concern students at the upper secondary and tertiary level.

: Data are collected on an individual level about all students in formal programs of study and programs which have been approved by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. Only programmes, which are at least one semester of full-time study, or equivalent, are included. Only students with an Icelandic ID number are counted. The basic identification code is the individual social security number as coded in the National Population Register. This in turn makes it possible to join the Student Register with the National Population Register in order to update the student data with information on sex, domicile and marital status on December 1st each year. Students in apprenticeship programmes are included, as are students studying abroad with the assistance of the Icelandic Student Loan Fund.

Program of study
: Based on information from the schools, students' line or program of study is coded according to the official curriculum published by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture and/or the schools own curriculum.

Progress of study
: For most students and the majority of schools, unit-credits earned are used to show how students progress in their studies. However, this is not possible for all schools, and therefore schools are asked to report students' progress by stating year (or semester) of study. Based on this information Statistics Iceland records a code to denote the students' progress of study.

Amount of study
: Information on the amount of study for each individual is collected by asking about the unit-credits which each student is undertaking during the autumn semester. When this information is not available schools are asked to state in percentages whether students are registered for full-time or part-time studies. These data are available since 1997.

Mode of teaching
: Since 1997 information on mode of teaching has been collected, i.e. if the teaching is in the form of day courses, evening and adult courses or if the teaching takes the form of distance learning.

Foreign languages: Information is collected about students learning living foreign languages at the upper secondary level. This is collected both in autumn and spring terms.

Data are both published under the title "Registered students" where duplicate counts are allowed, and a final version where duplicates are not allowed. Data on registered students are based on direct reports from schools where students might be registered for a particular line of study in one school and a totally different line of study or mode of teaching in another school. Hence the duplicate counts. In this data set information about students abroad from the Student Loan Fund (L.Í.N.) is not included nor information about apprentices in workplace training.In the final version data set (where duplicates are not allowed) students are counted once and then in the programme which is considered to be the student's major line of study

1.2 Statistical concepts

School/Educational Institution: A school is defined here as a separate entity or place where education is carried out. A school does not necessarily have to be confined to a building or a particular place. Thus a school can be a country, for instance when students are studying abroad like in Denmark, or an institution, administration or directorate such Isavia where education of air traffic controllers is carried out. A school can also be a form or mode of teaching, e.g. when apprentices are counted separately when under the guidance of a master in the workplace. Most often, however, a school has the traditional meaning of an educational institution which is confined to a particular place with a headmaster in charge.

Student: An individual who is registered in a particular school (as defined above) and studying in a particular programme or line of study as defined by the curriculum on the reference date, usually 15th of October each year. Only students with an Icelandic ID are counted.

Unit-credits are defined in the curriculum by the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture and also in the syllabus published by each school. At the upper secondary level previously the reference for one unit-credit was two class hours. A full-time student was registered for 18 unit-credits each term which was 36 class hours each week. With laws on upper secondary education No. 82/2008 new unit-credits were adopted (f-credits) where a full year of study is 60 f-credits. Unit-credits at the tertiary level have a similar connotation. Previously one unit-credit was equivalent to one working week. Thus 30 unit-credits (30 weeks = two terms) at the tertiary level counted as full-time study. Then ECTS credits were adopted, where 60 ECTS credits are the equvialent of full-time study for one year.

Unit-credits completed:
Unit-credits already earned at the start of the autumn semester show how students are progressing with their studies.

Unit-credits in the autumn semester:
Unit-credits the student has signed up for during the autumn semester. Used to indicate the full-time or part-time status of the student.

Enrolment rate
: The ratio of students at any given age to the general population of the same age.

Drop-out rate
: The ratio of students who are counted in the Student Register in a given year who are not found in the register a year later without having graduated or passed away.

2. Time

2.1 Reference periods

The Student Register is a longitudinal register covering the period from 1975. The period is prolonged annually by one year. Providers are asked to hand in reports each autumn term with 15th of October as the reference date. They are asked to include all active and participating students but exclude those students who are on temporary leave. Universities which graduate students in the second part of October, and might still have graduates listed in the school register on Octoer 15th, are asked to use the 1st of November as a reference date. This is done in order to be able to exclude those students who are no longer "active" students but are still in the school register while waiting for their diplomas. Students on leave from their studies are excluded.

2.2 Process time

Statistics in 2016 are first published approximately 20 months after the reference date.

2.3 Punctuality

Material is announced on the advance release calendar on Statistics Iceland's website 10 days before publication. So far no publication has been postponed since this rule was adopted.

2.4 Frequency of releases

Statistics are published annually on the website and in the Statistical Yearbook, Landshagir. Data are also published in publications and on the websites of foreign organizaitons.

3. Reliability and security

3.1 Accuracy and reliability

All upper secondary schools and universities are requested to hand in data. The response rate has been 100%.

3.2 Sources of errors

In order to minimise inaccuracy several measures are taken. Data sets are compared with data from previous years, enquiries are made to individual schools and data are compared with related data collected by Statistics Iceland, such as data on graduations and data from the National Population Register. Inaccuracy in data can often be traced to the school level, where for instance students are either missing or counted more than once. Students' line of study or program of study is sometimes missing or wrong. Another known source of inaccuracy in the data set is the number of students in internships, where information is only partly available. The number of exchange students is possibly not counted correctly. Foreign exchange students in Iceland are only counted if they have an Icelandic ID number. The mode of study is not recorded in the same way in all schools, so the data on mode of study may not be fully comparable. Data are only collected for the autumn term but are believed to be representative for the whole academic year, which might be a source of inaccuracy. It is not known if the number of students in the spring semester is similar to the autumn semester and that might be a source of inaccuracy when reference is made to the whole academic year in publications. As a result, students who only study in the spring semester are not counted in the data.

3.3 Measures on confidence limits/accuracy

Since the data are population statistics, rather than statistics from a sample, measures on confidence limits or accuracy are not relevant and therefore not done.

4. Comparison

4.1 Comparison between periods

The Student Register has existed since 1975 without interruption. The first four years not all schools in the formal school system were included. Data from 1979 are more or less comparable but coverage of the data collection has improved and changes have been made. In 1997 the coverage was expanded to include different modes of teaching, such as evening/adult education and distance learning in the formal school system, which had not been included before that time. At the same time part-time students were also included but before 1997 the data only included full-time students in daytime courses. Thus there is a break in the time series in 1997. However, the data for full-time students in day courses are comparable from 1979 to the present.
The Student Register is a living database, which is updated back in time when necessary. When new data are published older data are usually updated at the same time.

4.2 Comparison with other statistics

The final data are compared with other data sets such as data in the National Population Register and Register of Graduations. Comparable data from other countries are also used for comparison. The statistics are more or less processed in accordance with international definitions. When students in full-time and part-time programmes and students' full-time equivalents are calculated for the international organizations their definition for full-time equivalents is used. Thus a student who is studying 75% or more of a full-time study load would be counted as a full-time student. Students at the upper secondary level who are registered for 24 f-credits (14 old unit-credits) or more are considered to be full-time students and students at the tertiary level who are registered for 24 ECTS (12 old unit-credits) or more are considered to be full-time students. Students who are registered for more than one full-time study load are counted as one full-time equivalent student.

4.3 Coherence between preliminary and final statistics

Preliminary data are not published. A comparison between statistics on registered students in schools and final statistics can be done by looking up the relevant statistics on the Statistics Iceland website. The difference is mostly due to the duplicate counting in the former data set and more coverage in the latter. The duplicate counts are estimated to be between 3-7% depending on the reference year.

5. Access to information

5.1 Forms of dissemination

1. News, released on Statistics Iceland's website
2. Statistics, categorised statistical web tables
3. Landshagir, Statistical Yearbook of Iceland
4. Hagtíðindi, Statistical Series (last in 2012)
5. Data from Statistics Iceland databases published by international organizations, such as Key data on Education in Europe which is published biannually (by Eurydice), Education at a Glance (annual publication by OECD) and Global Education Digest (annual publication by UNESCO).
6. Data are used to create more indicators, e.g. on new entrants, and to respond to requests for data on dropout from upper secondary and tertiary education, using a link to the Register of Graduations. Enrolment rates are published, where the proportion of students at a particular age of the population of the same age are computed. It is also possible to examine the way students proceed through the education system.

5.2 Basic data; storage and usability

The data are preserved in a computer format by Statistics Iceland. All data which concern individuals are treated as confidential. Access to individual data is restricted and normally not allowed. It is not possible to trace information to individuals from the data used to answer enquiries. Scientists can apply for access to individual data if they meet certain requirements.

5.3 Reports

5.4 Other information

More information can be obtained from the individual responsible for the Student Register and from other staff in the Department on Wages, Income and Education.

© Hagstofa �slands, �ann 22-6-2016