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Education in Australia 2012: five years of performance

Education Schools Early childhood education Australia

Five years of reporting on Australia’s education outcomes has shown signs of improvement in the early years and in Year 12 attainment.

About this report

All Australian governments signed the National Education Agreement in January 2009. The objective of the agreement is that all Australian school students acquire the knowledge and skills to participate effectively in society and employment in a globalised economy. This objective recognises the important role that education plays in meeting Australia‘s economic and social goals.

We assess and report publicly on the performance of governments against the outcomes in the agreement. This year we focus on whether these outcomes have improved over the five years since the agreement was developed. We mainly assess progress over time and identify trends.

Structure of the report

We have organised the report around the five outcomes the agreement aims to achieve.

  • Are children engaged in and benefiting from schooling?
  • Are young people meeting basic literacy and numeracy standards and are overall levels improving?
  • Are Australian students excelling internationally?
  • Are young people making a successful transition from school to work and further study?
  • Does schooling promote social inclusion and reduce educational disadvantage?

We also report on whether governments are on track to meet COAG‘s targets to:

  • lift the Year 12 or equivalent (Certificate II or above) attainment rate to 90 per cent by 2015
  • lift the Year 12 or equivalent (Certificate III or above) attainment rate to 90 per cent by 2020
  • halve the gap for Indigenous students in reading, writing and numeracy by 2018
  • halve the gap for Indigenous students in Year 12 or equivalent attainment by 2020.

Treatment of data in this report

The data used in this report come from a variety of surveys, administrative collections and censuses. Most of the available data covers the 2008 to 2012 timeframe. For some indicators this year we use data from the 2011 Census of Population and Housing as it is newly available and provides a sound five year comparison with the 2006 Census.

For survey data, we test for statistical significance of any changes or differences and note when differences are statistically significant. We do not test Census data or data from administrative collections as there are no estimates of error from sampling. However, there may be error from other sources such as processing or collection issues which are not quantified.

Appendices C and D provide relevant information on data used, the collections and any limitations with collection methods, definitions and data quality. Appendix D also includes a summary of contextual information relevant to the indicators and outcomes of the National Education Agreement.

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