This report builds on an earlier article about pupils’ choice of education program and completion rate of upper secondary education with regard to centrality of residence (Lervåg 2023).

The population in this report is the cohort of pupils that began in upper secondary level 1 for the first time in 2016. The settlement pattern of immigrant pupils in this cohort resembles that of the Norwegian population without immigrant background. Still, the immigrant pupils are characterized by a higher proportion of males, a lower proportion with young person's right (statutory rights for young people), shorter length of residence, lower primary school grades, and lower parental education levels rural municipalities compared to their fellow pupils.

The general pattern is that more centrally located pupils choose general studies. However, immigrants more often choose to start in vocational education programs. This is a pattern that varies less with centrality than for other pupils.

The majority of pupils in programs of general studies chose a specialization in general studies. The proportion is even lager for immigrants and pupils that lived in central municipalities. In vocational education programs, there is a huge difference in preferences according to gender, in addition to immigration category and centrality. A large proportion of female pupils studied healthcare, childhood and youth development, while male pupils chose various programs. Male immigrants less often chose education programs typical of their gender, compared with rest of the male pupils, while the exact opposite being true for female immigrants.

We track the first three years after this cohort of pupils began in upper secondary school and find that a larger proportion of immigrants utilized the right to change education program compared to other pupils. This proportion is the highest among immigrant pupils in central municipalities.

Immigrants completed upper secondary education to a lesser extent than the rest of the population. A bigger proportion of immigrants who completed upper secondary education spent more time than the normative length of study. Immigrants residing in rural municipalities overall had a smaller proportion that completed and a bigger proportion of dropouts. However, it is entirely different when we look at pupils in programs for general studies and vocational programs separately. Among immigrant pupils in programs for general studies, the proportion completing within the normative time decreases the less centrally they lived, unlike immigrants in vocational programs whose completion rate was highest in the least central municipalities.

Pupils who started in upper secondary level 1 at the age of 16 had the highest completion rate within the nominative time. Immigrant pupils are, on average, older than other pupils, which contributes to lower completion rates among immigrants compared with other immigration categories. Immigrant pupils also have a lower average of primary school grades and a higher proportion with missing primary school grades, factors that are have impacts on completion in upper secondary education. Immigrants who have lived in Norway for 6 years or longer are more likely to complete upper secondary education than those with a residence period of 5 years or shorter. Pupils who changed education programs were much less likely to complete than others, but pupils who took supplementary programs were more likely to complete than the rest of pupils in vocational programs. Many of the mentioned factors associated with reduced completion rate in upper secondary education were more common among immigrants in rural municipalities than elsewhere in the country.