Factors Affecting Year 12 Retention Across Australian States and Territories in the 1990's
This paper contains a comparison of high school completion rates across Australian States and Territories from 1989 to 2002. These completion rates, known as 'retention rates', have a number of well-known deficiencies. When we adjust 'official' 2002 retention rates to take account of these measurement problems, the pattern of 'performance' across jurisdictions changes substantially. Moreover, the adjustments allow identification of the pattern of mismeasurement of national retention over the 1990s arising from the deficiencies of the retention rate calculation. We estimate that the retention rate was an especially poor measure of national school completion in the early 1990s, when it peaked. The peak in our adjusted retention measure during the early 1990s was less pronounced and the subsequent decline smaller than in the 'official' figures. Unlike those 'official' estimates, the adjusted measure of Year 12 retention was no lower in the late 1990s than it had been in the early 1990s.
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