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Background Statistics

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This report is based on administrative student records contained in the Post-Primary Online Database (PPOD) compiled by the Department of Education and Skills. The analysis focuses on two academic years, 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 and examines educational and economic outcomes for these cohorts where students can be linked to other administrative records in the years 2012 – 2017. This means that there are six years of outcome trends for the 2011/2012 cohort (2012 – 2017) and five outcome years for the 2012/2013 academic year. This chapter provides an overview of the relevant PPOD records and the extent to which it was possible to match these records to administrative outcomes.

Academic school year composition

In the academic year 2011/2012, a total of 56,740 students enrolled in either Leaving Certificate Years 1 or 2 or the Repeat Leaving Certificate, and appeared on the PPOD for the final time. Most of these are assumed to have sat and completed the Leaving Certificate Examinations (LCE) and are categorised as LCE completers in this report. However, as data from the State Examinations Commission is not currently available to the CSO, we cannot be certain that these students sat the LCE.

Those who were last enrolled on the PPOD in Leaving Certificate Year 1 or had some record of leaving the post-primary system during Leaving Certificate Year 2 are classified as Early Leavers. It is possible that some of these students continued the Leaving Certificate programme in a private institution or undertook the equivalent of the Leaving Certificate in another jurisdiction, but for the purposes of this report, these students are classified as Early Leavers.

The composition of each academic year studied as part of this analysis is presented in Table 9.1, broken down by LCE completion status and gender.

Table 9.1 Composition of post-primary academic years by LCE Complers, Early Leavers and sex
 2011/2012 2012/2013
Sex AllLCE CompletersEarly Leavers AllLCE CompletersEarly Leavers
Female 27,82026,1401,690 27,76026,0201,740
Male28,92026,8802,030 28,85026,9601,880
Total 56,74053,0203,720 56,61052,9813,620

Statbank tables: PPO25 - Composition of post-primary academic years

Administrative data matching

Successful matching in administrative data is dependent on the presence of a valid Personal Identifier Key (PIK) in both datasets. To achieve this, the CSO constructs a PIK based on the Personal Public Services Number (PPSN), where PPSN appears on the original administrative records. In line with the data protocols of the CSO, all identifiable information from each of the applicable data sources is removed, such as name, date of birth and addresses. The resulting data is then said to be 'pseudonymised' and this is what is used for all analysis. The PPSN is replaced with the PIK and it is this PIK which is used to link person-based data. Coverage of PPSN is therefore crucial to the analysis.

Among 2011/2012 students, 94.5% of 56,740 records had a valid PIK. For LCE Completers, 95.6% of 53,020 had a valid PIK while for Early Leavers’ records it was 78.2% of 3,720.

For 2012/2013 students, 94.7% of 56,610 records had a valid PIK. For LCE Completers, 95.9% of 52,980 had a valid PIK while for Early Leavers’ records it was 77.6% of 3,620.

Table 9.2 presents the compositions of the academic years studied in this report where a valid PIK is available for further matching.

Table 9.2 Composition of post-primary academic years with valid PIKs For LCE Complers and Early Leavers
 2011/2012 2012/2013
Sex AllLCE CompletersEarly Leavers AllLCE CompletersEarly Leavers
Female 26,21025,0101,200 26,22024,9801,240
Male27,39025,6801,710 27,41025,8301,580
Total 53,60050,6902,910 53,63050,8102,810
2011/2012 LCE Completers2615926896
2011/2012 Early Leavers38744572
2012/2013 LCE Completers2601726964
2012/2013 Early Leavers39564321

This publication is the result of an exercise to match 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 academic PPOD records to other administrative datasets, and matched in each outcome year during 2012 – 2017 where the data is available.  These administrative datasets, which are indicative of socio-economic outcomes, are held by the CSO in the Administrative Data Centre. Higher, further education and training outcomes are assessed using records from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) (2012 – 2017), Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) (2012 – 2017), and SOLAS/FÁS (2012 – 2015). Employment activity is analysed using P35 and Form 11 records from Revenue (2012 – 2017). Those not found in previous sources are checked for administrative activity against the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) Social Welfare Payments Records (2012 – 2017).

2011/2012 Early Leavers2011/2012 LCE Completers2012/2013 Early Leavers2012/2013 LCE Completers

There is a notable difference in identification rates, depending on whether students are LCE Completers or Early Leavers. The estimates for Youthreach attendance (see Methodology) are not incorporated into these actual matched based figures.

Among the 50,690 LCE completers with a valid PIK in the 2011/2012 academic year, 98.5% were subsequently identified on at least one administrative dataset in at least one year in the 2012 – 2017 period. Among 2,910 Early Leavers, this rate was 89.7%.

For the 2012/2013 academic year, 98.5% of 50,810 LCE completers and 89.7% of Early Leavers were subsequently identified on at least one administrative dataset in at least one year in the 2013 – 2017 period.

Statbank tables: PPO26 - Cumulative adminstrative identification rates