Almost 56% of the 4,458 new entrants at the upper secondary level in 2014 had graduated in 2018. Around one in four had dropped out of school or taken a temporary leave from study while 19% were still in education without having graduated. More than two out of three new entrants, who had at least one parent with university education, had graduated by 2018 but one out of three where neither parent had completed the upper secondary level. Less than one-third of the 286 immigrants, who entered day courses at the upper secondary level for the first time in the autumn of 2014 had graduated. That is the highest completion rate in this century for this group but considerably lower than among new entrants with Icelandic background. The changes in the requirements, which shortened the time needed to complete the matriculation examination, had mostly been implemented in the data now published.
The completion rate has been increasing
The completion rate, i.e. the proportion of new entrants who have graduated, has been increasing since the year 2004. Four years after entering, 44.7% of new entrants in 2004 had graduated, but 55.6% of new entrants in the autumn of 2014. On the other hand, the proportion of new entrants still in education has dropped from almost 28% in 2004 and 2005 to 19%. The dropout of new entrants four years after entering has been slowly declining from 29.6% among new entrants in 2003 to 25.3% among new entrants in 2014.
The completion rate is higher among the children of parents with tertiary education
Statistics Iceland now publishes for the first time data on completion rate and dropout according to the education attained by the parents of new entrants. Out of the 4,458 new entrants in day courses at the upper secondary level in 2014 2,352 had at least one parent with tertiary education, 1,408 had a parent with upper secondary education and 554 had parents who had only completed basic education. Information is missing on the education of the parents of 144 new entrants, most of whom have a foreign background.
The data show that two out of three (67.6%) new entrants in 2014, who had at least one parent with tertiary education, had graduated by 2018. The completion rate among entrants, where neither parent had completed the upper secondary level, was 33.0%. Among new entrants, whose parents had completed the upper secondary level, 47.8% had graduated by 2018.
Proportionally fewer immigrants graduate from upper secondary schools than students of Icelandic back ground
In the autumn of 2014, 286 immigrants entered day courses at the upper secondary level for the first time, and four years later 32.3% of these entrants had graduated. That is the highest completion rate in this century, but considerably lower than among new entrants with Icelandic background. On the other hand, the completion rate was by far the highest among students born abroad of Icelandic background; 68.7% of those new entrants in 2014 had graduated in 2018. More than 57% of those who had no foreign background had graduated and more than 53% of those who were born in Iceland and have a foreign parent. Women are more likely to graduate than men, irrespective of background.
A total of 63.2% of all females and 48.3% of male students had graduated within four years. The completion rate was higher among students in general education than in vocational education and higher for students graduated from schools in the capital region than in schools in other parts of the country.
What is dropout?
Dropout from education can be defined in a number of ways. The method used for these data is to follow up on new entrants in day courses in the autumn after four years, six years and seven years, the so-called cohort rate. Statistics Iceland has data on completion rate and dropout at the upper secondary level starting with new entrants in 1995.
About the data
New entrants are students who were registered in programmes at the upper secondary level of education in the autumn for the first time, since the start of the Statistics Iceland Student register in 1975. All day course students of all ages are included. Graduates are those who have graduated from upper secondary programmes of at least two years’ duration. Students still in education are those students who are studying in day courses, evening courses or by distance learning at the upper secondary or tertiary levels of education in Iceland in the autumn, who have not graduated. Information on the background of students and the connection between students and their parents is derived from population data. Information about the highest education of parents is based on data Statistics Iceland has on the highest education of individuals. These data are under development and are still provisional.