7.2 Reasons for differences in completion rates

Average point scores and completion rates

  • Pupils with an average point score of 25–29 from lower secondary are twice as likely to complete the Building and Construction programme as the Programme for Specialisation in General Studies.
  • Only 3 per cent of pupils with an average point score of 55 or higher choose a vocational study programme. All of them complete their studies within six years.

Although the proportion of pupils who complete their studies has remained stable for a long time, there are significant discrepancies between different groups of upper secondary pupils.

Prior achievement predicts completion rates

Low attainment at the primary and lower secondary levels is by far the single most important reason for failing to complete upper secondary.

77 per cent of girls in the 2008 cohort completed upper secondary within the theoretical duration plus 2 years, while for boys the figure was 70 per cent. The difference is largely due to the fact that boys perform less well in primary and lower secondary school.

Pupils with an immigrant background are less likely to complete their studies than other pupils

Young people with immigrant backgrounds are increasingly pursuing an upper secondary education. 78 per cent of immigrants aged 16–18 were in upper secondary education or training in 2015, an increase from 64 per cent in 2010. Among Norwegian-born pupils with immigrant parents the figure is 93 per cent, the same as the general population (Statistics Norway). 74 per cent of Norwegian-born pupils with two immigrant parents were in upper secondary education or training in 1994 (Støren et al. 2007).

Pupils with an immigrant background are slightly less likely to complete their studies at upper secondary level than other pupils. The completion rate (N+2) is 68 per cent for Norwegian-born children of immigrant parents and 56 per cent for pupils who have themselves immigrated.

The longer an immigrant has lived in Norway, the more likely they are to complete upper secondary. Of immigrants aged 25–30, half of those who arrived in Norway at the age of 13–15 have completed upper secondary education or training. The corresponding figure for those who arrived at the age of 16–18 is 40 per cent.

There are greater differences in completion rates between Norwegian-born pupils with immigrant parents and immigrants than between Norwegian-born pupils with immigrant parents and other pupils.

Figure 7.3 Completed upper secondary education or training within the theoretical duration plus two years – by average point score. 2008 cohort. Per cent.

figure-7-3-completed-upper-secondary-education-or-training-within-the-theoretical-duration-plus-two-years-by-average-point-score-2008-cohort-per-cent

Source: Statistics Norway

Immigrants and immigrant backgrounds

Young people with immigrant backgrounds are either immigrants (they have themselves immigrated) or they are born in Norway to two immigrant parents. We do not distinguish between country backgrounds.

Girls with immigrant backgrounds are more likely to complete upper secondary than boys with immigrant backgrounds

Norwegian-born girls with immigrant parents are just as likely to complete as girls in the population as a whole. Norwegian-born boys with immigrant parents, on the other hand, are significantly less likely to complete than both Norwegian-born boys and girls in the overall population. The gender differences are also considerable between immigrant boys and immigrant girls. A qualitative study points out that many boys with an immigrant background do not feel that education will help them enter the job market (Rogstad 2016).

Figure 7.4 Completed upper secondary education or training within the theoretical duration plus two years – by immigrant status and gender. 2008 cohort. Per cent.

figure-7-4-completed-upper-secondary-education-or-training-within-the-theoretical-duration-plus-two-years-by-immigrant-status-and-gender-2008-cohort-per-cent

Source: Statistics Norway

Figure 7.5 Completed upper secondary education within the theoretical duration plus two years by immigrant status and parents’ educational background. 2008 cohort. Per cent.

figure-7-5-completed-upper-secondary-education-within-the-theoretical-duration-plus-two-years-by-immigrant-status-and-parents-educational-background-2008-cohort-per-cent

Source: Statistics Norway