Statistics Iceland now publishes for the first time data on completion rate and dropout at the upper secondary level according to the age of immigrants when moving to Iceland. The data show that the completion rate and dropout of immigrants, who moved to Iceland before the age of seven, were similar to the average rates for all new entrants at the upper secondary level in the autumn of 2012 and 2015.
The completion rate (i.e. the proportion of new entrants who have graduated) of all new entrants in the autumn of 2015 was 60.0% four years after entering. Among immigrants, who moved to Iceland before the age of seven, the rate was 57.8% and 50.0% for second generation immigrants. The rate was lower for immigrants, who were seven years old or older when moving to the country, as 32.0% of this group had graduated. The completion rate for non-immigrants was 62.1% four years after entry.
When only looking at entrants in vocational education, 40.3% of entrants in the autumn of 2015 had graduated within four years of starting their studies. The completion rate was higher among immigrants, as 44.4% of those who moved to Iceland under the age of seven had graduated, and 43.0% of those who were seven years old or older when moving to Iceland. On the other hand, the completion rate of immigrants was lower than the rate for all entrants in general education, especially among immigrants who were seven years old or older when moving to Iceland.
It should be noted that there were only 44 new entrants belonging to second generation immigrants and 45 immigrants who moved to Iceland before the age of seven among new entrants in the autumn of 2015. Therefore, these findings can be seen as giving an indication of the situation among these groups, but each individual weighs heavily in the data and considerable fluctuations in percentages may be observed.
Proportionally fewer immigrants graduate than students of Icelandic background
In the autumn of 2015, 320 immigrants entered day courses at the upper secondary level for the first time, and four years later almost 36.0% 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 the highest among students born abroad of Icelandic background; 73.9% of those new entrants in 2015 had graduated in 2019, 62.4% of those who had no foreign background and more than 55% 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 68.3% of all female and 51.4% of male entrants 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 general programmes in schools in the capital region than in schools in other parts of the country. However, the completion rate in vocational education was slightly higher in schools outside of the capital city region than in schools within the region.
Six out of ten new entrants graduated within four years
A total of 60.0% of the 4,359 new entrants at the upper secondary level in 2015 had graduated in 2019, 23.0% had dropped out of school or taken a temporary leave from study while 17.0% were still in education without having graduated. The completion rate increased considerably since 2018 when it was 55.6%, as a large number of students graduated with the matriculation exam from three or four year programmes of study during this period.
The completion rate has been increasing
The completion rate has been increasing since the year 2003. Four years after entering, 44.2% of new entrants in 2003 had graduated, but 60.0% of new entrants in the autumn of 2015. On the other hand, the proportion of new entrants still in education has dropped from almost 28% in 2004 and 2005 to 17.0%. The dropout of new entrants four years after entering has been slowly declining in recent years, from 27.4% among new entrants in 2011 to 23.0% among new entrants in 2015. The completion rate has never been higher and the dropout rate never been lower in data published by Statistics Iceland.
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 is derived from population data. Immigrants are those who were born abroad and have both parents of foreign origin. Exchange students, who stay in Iceland for one year, are included in the data for immigrants. Second generation immigrants are those who were born in Iceland of two immigrant parents. Non-immigrants are those who have no foreign background, were born in Iceland with one parent born abroad, born abroad with Icelandic background or born abroad with one parent born abroad.