Teacher attrition rate

Definition

Percentage of teachers at a given level of education leaving the profession in a given school year.

Data source

Administrative data from schools and human resources records on educational personnel.

Calculation method

Number of leavers is estimated by subtracting the number of teachers in year t from those in year t-1 and adding the number of new entrants to the teaching workforce in year t. The attrition rate is the number of leavers expressed as a percentage of the total number of teachers in year t-1.

Data required

Number of teachers at each level of education in years t and t-1 and number of new entrant teachers at each level in year t.

Interpretation

High value indicates high levels of teacher turnover which can be disruptive for the learning of students. Where teachers teach for 30-40 years, the attrition rate will be well below 5%. Attrition rates above 10% indicate that the average teaching career lasts only 10 years.

Limitations

This indicator does not provide information about the reasons why teachers leave the profession. Analysis of factors leading to teacher attrition usually requires detailed data collection (e.g. survey of teachers who have left the profession, annual school censuses) which may be challenging due to low response rates or large numbers of teachers leaving the profession for unknown reasons.

Purpose

Teacher shortage is a significant contributing factor that widens equity gaps in education access and learning. Assessing and monitoring teacher attrition is essential to a sufficient supply of qualified and well-trained teachers as well as to their effective deployment, support and management.

Quality standards

In calculating this indicator, care should be exercised to avoid double counting regarding teachers that teach more than one level of education. Also, the existence of part-time teaching, school-shifts, multi-grade classes and other practices that may affect the precision of the number of teachers and the new entrants to the teaching profession should be taken into account.

Types of disaggregation

Sex, level of education and type of institution (public/private).