Survival rate by grade


Percentage of a cohort of students enrolled in the first grade of a given level or cycle of education in a given school year who are expected to reach a given grade, regardless of repetition.

Data source

School register, school survey or census.

Source definition

UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Calculation method

Divide the total number of students belonging to a school-cohort who reached each successive grade of the specified level of education by the number of students in the school-cohort i.e. those originally enrolled in the first grade of primary education, and multiply the result by 100. The survival rate is calculated on the basis of the reconstructed cohort method, which uses data on enrolment and repeaters for two consecutive years.

Data required

Enrolment by grade for two consecutive years (years t and t+1); number of repeaters by grade for year t+1.


Rates approaching 100% indicate a high level of retention and low incidence of dropout. The distinction between survival rate with and without repetition is necessary to compare the extent of wastage due to dropout and repetition. Survival rate to the last grade of primary education is of particular interest for monitoring universal primary education, a central objective for Education for All and the Millennium Development Goals.


Given that this indicator is usually estimated using cohort analysis models that are based on a number of assumptions (i.e. the observed flow rates will remain unchanged throughout the cohort life), care should be taken in using of the results in comparisons. Care should also be taken in calculating the indicator at sub-national level because of possible pupils’ transfers between localities.


To measure the retention capacity and internal efficiency of an education system. It illustrates the situation regarding retention of students from grade to grade in schools, and conversely the magnitude of dropout by grade.

Quality standards

Since the calculation of this indicator is based on pupil-flow rates, the reliability of the Survival rate depends on the consistency of data on enrolment and repeaters in term of coverage over time and across grades.

Types of disaggregation

By sex.