School life expectancy net of repetition

Definition

Number of years of schooling that a child of a certain age can expect to receive in the future, excluding years spent repeating grades.

Calculation method

For a child of a certain age, the SLEN of a given level of education is calculated as: the sum of the age specific enrolment rates for the given level of education, plus the number of pupils of unknown age in the given level of education divided by the school-age population for that level of education, and multiplied by the duration of that level of education, minus the number of repeaters in a given level of education divided by the school-age population for that level, multiplied by the duration of that level of education.

Data required

Enrolment by age or of unknown age by level of education; repeaters by level of education; population by single year of age.

Data source

School registers, school surveys or censuses for education data; Population censuses and United Nations Population Division estimates for school-age population.

Interpretation

Indicates how many years children are likely to spend in the education system without repeating. A high dropout rate significantly lowers the SLEN. It is important to note that this indicator is an average, which means that it reflects the average number of years a pupil can be enrolled in a given level of education, excluding years spent repeating grades. It neither measures the number of years an enrolled pupil can have in a given level of education nor the number of grades completed. In fact, the SLEN is negatively affected by the number of children who never go to school, which means that those children who are in school are likely to receive more years of education than indicated by the SLEN. Additionally, for some countries for which enrolments are not distributed by age, the SLEN can be higher than the total duration of the concerned levels of education due to over aged pupils.

Limitations

The calculation method assumes that the probability of a child being enrolled in school at any particular age is equal to the current enrolment ratio for that age. The indicator is affected by over aged pupils, which can generate SLEN values that exceed the duration of a given level of education. The SLEN should be interpreted with complementary indicators, particularly the Gross enrolment ratio (GER).

Purpose

SLEN provides estimates of the subsequent years of schooling of a child of a certain age, excluding repetition. The indicator also reflects the overall level of development of an education system in terms of the average number of years of schooling without repetition that can be offered to the school-age population, including those who never enter school.

Quality standards

The SLEN should be calculated from reliable data on enrolment, repeaters and population by single-year of age.

Types of disaggregation

By level of education and by sex.