Years-input per graduate


Estimated average number of pupil-years spent by students from a given cohort who graduate from a given cycle or level of education, taking into account the pupil-years wasted due to dropout and repetition. N.B. One school year spent in a grade by a pupil is equal to one pupil-year.

Calculation method

Divide the total number of pupil-years spent by a pupil-cohort (graduates plus dropouts) in the specified level of education by the sum of the successive batch of graduates belonging to the same cohort. This indicator is calculated on the basis of the reconstructed cohort method, which uses data on enrolment and repeaters for two consecutive years.

Data required

Total number of pupil-years spent by the pupil-cohort and the total number of graduates from the same cohort. These data can be derived using cohort reconstructed model, which requires enrolment by grade for two consecutive years (years t and t+1); number of repeaters by grade for year t+1 and number of graduates for year t.

Data source

School register, school survey, census or records.


The closer the value of this indicator is to the theoretical number of grades (or duration) of the specified education cycle, the higher the internal efficiency and the lesser the negative effects of repetition and dropout. A high number of pupil-years per graduate as compared to the normal duration, denotes waste of resources and hence inefficiency.


From a conceptual viewpoint, having most students graduating within the prescribed duration of the cycle is optimal with regard to economic efficiency and resource utilization, but this does not necessarily imply achievement of the expected learning outcomes. Also, according to this calculation method, early dropouts (i.e. from lower grades) can result in higher internal efficiency than late dropout (i.e. from higher grades); this means that efficiency from the economic point of view can be in contradiction with educational objectives aiming to retain pupils in schools until higher grades when they would have acquired the desired knowledge and skills.


To assess the extent of educational internal efficiency in terms of the estimated average number of years to be invested in producing a graduate

Quality standards

Since the calculation of this indicator is based on pupil-flow rates, its reliability depends on the consistency of data on enrolment and repeaters in terms of coverage over time and across grades. Differences in national regulations concerning the number of repetitions allowed constitute an aspect to be taken into account when using this indicator for cross-country comparisons.

Types of disaggregation

By sex.