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Determinants of course completions in vocational education and training: Evidence from Australia

Fieger, Peter (2015): Determinants of course completions in vocational education and training: Evidence from Australia.

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Completion rates in Australian vocational education and training (VET) are notoriously low. While there are conventional reasons such as issues with course, health, institutional factors, financial and family problems and dissatisfaction with the training experience, more VET specific explanations have included that students may discontinue their studies when they have obtained the specific skills they were seeking or they have gained employment. This present study seeks to examine whether the original intention of students at the time of enrollment along with satisfaction and the benefit that could be obtained from completion have any bearing on completion patterns. We model the probability of intending to complete from the 2011 Student Intentions Survey and the perform an out of sample prediction of students' intention on respondents to the 2011 Student Outcomes Survey. Subsequently a logistic regression model predicting actual completion is developed utilising student intentions, various components of satisfaction, completion pay-offs and some demographic and educational variables.. Main findings of this study include that while students' initial intentions to complete increase actual completion probabilities, the overwhelming determinants of completion are high annual hours of enrollment and the enrollment in higher VET qualifications. Furthermore, the benefits to completion and satisfaction with the training play only minor roles in shaping completion patterns. This study contributes to the existing body of knowledge about completions in VET by including the original completion intention of students in the examination of completion patterns.

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