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Year 12 Completion and Retention in Australia in the 1990s


Author Info

  • Chris Ryan

    (The Australian National University)

  • Louise Watson

    (University of Canberra)


This paper analyses high school completion rates, known as ‘apparent retention rates’ in Australia, from 1989 to 2002. Unlike most measures of educational attainment or participation in Australia, the apparent retention rate was lower at the end of the 1990s than it had been in the early 1990s. We adjust ‘official’ retention rates directly and with the aid of regression equation parameters to remedy a number of well-known deficiencies in their measurement, notably Year 12 repetition and migration. The path followed by our adjusted retention measure during the 1990s departs substantially from that of the ‘official’ estimates. We conclude that the apparent retention rate was an especially poor measure of national school completion in the early 1990s, when it peaked. 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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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School in its journal Australian Journal of Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 7 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 481-500

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Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:7:y:2004:i:4:p:481-500

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Related research

Keywords: Analysis of Education; Education; Government Policy Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity (Formal Training Programs; On-the-Job Training);

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Cited by:
  1. Andrew Leigh & Chris Ryan, 2009. "Long-Run Trends in School Productivity: Evidence From Australia," CEPR Discussion Papers 618, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.


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