In the autumn of 2004 there were 4,830 new entrants in day courses at the upper secondary level in Iceland. Four years later, in 2008, 45% of these entrants had graduated from programmes at the upper secondary level that were at least of two years’ duration. Fewer than 28% of these new entrants had dropped out of school in 2008 or taken a temporary leave from study without having graduated, and the same proportion was still in education without having graduated.

More students graduated from schools in the capital region than in schools outside of the region. Around 49% of new entrants, who entered schools in the capital region in the autumn of 2004, had graduated in 2008, but 37% of those who entered schools outside the capital region. One-quarter of new entrants in the capital region had dropped out without graduating, but almost one-third of new entrants in schools outside of the capital region (see table).

The status of new entrants in day courses at the upper secondary level in 2004 four, six and seven years after entry by location of school, %
  Years from entry
Capital region Outside capital region
  4 years  6 years  7 years 4 years  6 years  7 years
Graduates 49 62 65 37 51 55
Still in education 26 12 11 31 13 12
Dropped out 25 26 24 32 36 33
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100

Only minor changes in dropout in recent years
Only minor changes can be observed in dropout of new entrants at the upper secondary level between 2000 and 2004. Four years after entering just over 28% of new entrants in 2000 had dropped out without graduating, but just under 28% of new entrants in the autumn of 2004. Data for new entrants in 1995 show more dropout, or 35% four years after entering. It should be noted that the classification of education was changed in 1997, so data from before that year may not be fully comparable to data after 1997.

Proportionally fewer immigrants graduate from upper secondary schools than students of Icelandic origin
In the autumn of 2004, 175 immigrants entered day courses at the upper secondary level for the first time. Four years later, 26% of these entrants had graduated. Two years later the completion rate had increased to 31%. The completion rate is highest among students born abroad of Icelandic origin; 62% of those new entrants in 2004 had graduated in 2008. A total of 45% of new entrants in 2004, who had no foreign background, had graduated from the upper secondary level four years later.

Women are more likely to graduate than men, irrespective of origin.

 

Fewer students complete upper secondary education on time in Iceland than in most OECD countries
Iceland and Luxembourg had the lowest completion rate of 25 OECD countries, according to a 2012 survey on completion and dropout from upper secondary education. In Luxembourg 45% of new entrants at the upper secondary level in 2004 graduated on time, as in Iceland. However, in Luxembourg it is common for students to repeat years in school, so two years later 74% of new entrants in Luxembourg had graduated but 58% of Icelandic students, leaving Iceland in last place among the 14 OECD countries with comparable data.

On average, 70% of new entrants at the upper secondary level in OECD countries had graduated on time. After additional two years the completion rate had increased to 85%. It should be noted that education at the upper secondary level varies in duration between the OECD countries. Upper secondary education frequently lasts three years, but in some countries it takes two years or four years, as in Iceland. In addition, students in Iceland are older than in most other OECD countries when they graduate on time from education at the upper secondary level.

 

In all OECD countries with comparable data more females than males complete upper secondary education on time. On average, 74% of females and 66% of males graduate on time. The differences between the sexes are greater in Iceland, where 52% of females and 38% of males graduated on time.

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, a method which has been selected by the OECD for the publishing of comparable data on completion and dropout from upper secondary education. The source for data on dropout in other OECD countries than Iceland is OECD’s publication: Education at a Glance. OECD Indicators 2012.

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. Many students then continue studying and complete matriculation examination or longer vocational programmes. 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.

Statistics