Survival rate by grade (primary education)


Percentage of a cohort of pupils (or student) enrolled in the first grade of a given level or cycle of education in a given school year who are expected to reach successive grades.

Data source

School register or school census.

Source definition

UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Calculation method

Total number of pupils belonging to a school-cohort who reached each successive grade of the specified level of education expressed as percentage of the number of pupils in the school-cohort i.e. those originally enrolled in the first grade of primary education. 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.


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 pupils (or student) from grade to grade in schools, and conversely the magnitude of dropout by grade.

Quality standards

The calculation of this indicator should be based on reliable data on enrolment and repeaters by grade and sex at the relevant level of education (generally primary and lower secondary) and from all types of educational institutions in the country (public and private).

Moreover, 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.

The UIS sets standards, develops questionnaires and quality control protocols for country data reporting, and maintains the global database on enrolment and repeaters data by grade.

Types of disaggregation

By sex.