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Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
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On Track

Patricia Corrie
On Track Project Manager, Department of Education and Training Victoria

On Track is a bold and exciting initiative through which the Victorian Government records and publishes destination data of students who complete Year 12. The data, published on a school by school basis as well as a regional and state wide basis, is raising the level of understanding and discussion of students' post-secondary experiences.

The school by school destination data was first published in June 2003, when figures for the 2002 Year 12 completers cohort were published in The Age and the Herald Sun.

Over 35,000 Year 12 completers from 2003 provided destination data, published in July 2004. Once again, the data generated substantial interest and discussion, reflected in the large number of stakeholders attending the On Track regional forums.

These forums have given education and training providers, industry and local government, and other stakeholders the opportunity to consider the implications of transition profiles in the context of local knowledge. On Track data supports and informs the planning processes for the provision of education and training at local, regional and State level.

As well as publishing the destination data, On Track provides reports to each government and non government school, and to each provider, including VET providers delivering the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). These reports include destination data for early school leavers, as well as Year 12 completers. Local Learning and Employment Network reports, and Office of School Education Regional reports, are also created.

The On Track Survey of Year 12 completers and early leavers is conducted by the Centre for Post-compulsory Education and Lifelong Learning at the University of Melbourne under contract to the Department of Education and Training. The initiative fulfils a commitment made in the Ministerial statement, Improved Educational Outcomes (October 2002), to provide information on the post- school destinations of students who complete Year 12.

The key Survey results for the 2003 Year 12 cohort were as follows:

  • the proportion of Victorian young people who completed Year 12 and are continuing in education and training has increased from 73.6% in 2003 to 75.9% in 2004
  • more than three quarters of the Year 12 completers are in education and training (75.9%), with more than 7 out of 10 students (70.7%) who completed Year 12 in a Government school going on to further education and training
  • the proportion in apprenticeships and traineeships has increased from 6.0% in 2003 to 6.4% in 2004
  • the proportion enrolled at university has increased from 41.0% in 2003 to 43.4% in 2004.
Implications of the 2003 On Track data analysis:

  • students who attempted Year 12 follow a broad range of pathways beyond school, with university remaining the dominant destination. The vast majority are either in education and training or employment, with only 6% looking for work
  • destinations of early leavers indicate strong apprenticeship, traineeship (34%) and vocational education and training (23%) outcomes. However, early leavers, particularly females, are more likely to enter the labour market without participating in further education and training and be unemployed
  • patterns of destinations differ between schools, even those within like categories or in the same localities. These patterns echo statements within the Blueprint for Government Schools relating to concentrations of poor outcomes in some schools and some regions, and variations in outcomes between schools with similar populations. These patterns need to be understood within a local context, such as the locality's provision patterns and its labour market conditions
  • the Local Learning and Employment Networks, through the On Track Connect referral program, reported a strong need for transition assistance from school leavers who were not in education, training or employment - 66% of eligible of Post Year 12 students and 81% of Early Leavers.
On Track data contributes to the current policy debates over:

  • why students aspire to higher education/VET, or defer or reject offers
  • the nature of employment transitions, including apprenticeship
  • student views about the information on higher education and VET available to them from their school
  • the differences in destination patterns between different curriculum strands - the VCE general stream, VET In Schools, and the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL).
This year (2004) is the first year of a longitudinal survey which will follow a group of the 2003 Year 12 completers. This longitudinal survey will provide a more detailed picture of students' transitions over the four years after they leave school. The 2003 survey questionnaire also included additional questions relating to the reasons why students did not apply for, or declined, a TAFE place.

The Survey of the 2004 Year 12 and Early Leaver cohorts will begin in April 2005.


Subject Headings

Education policy
Educational evaluation
Tertiary education
Transitions in schooling
VET (Vocational Education and Training)