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Dropout Rate

Indicator Phrasing

% of students who enrolled but did not complete grade X in the given school year
See indicator in other languages

Indicator Phrasing

English: % of students who enrolled but did not complete grade X in the given school year

French: % d'élèves inscrits mais n'ayant pas terminé la classe X au cours de l'année scolaire donnée

Portuguese: % de estudantes que se matricularam mas não completaram o Xº ano num determinado ano escolar

Czech: % studentů, kteří v daném školním roce zahájili a nedokončili x-tý ročník

What is its purpose?

The indicator assesses the percentage of students who were enrolled in a given grade in a given school year who are no longer enrolled in the following school year, i.e. the extent to which students from a given grade leave school without completion.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

This indicator can be measured through a review of school register records. Review data on the enrollment, completion and repetition by grade level to determine which children have officially or unofficially stopped attending in the given school year. Depending on the availability of the data, you have 2 options for calculating the indicator.


Option 1: Data on the number of grade completers is available

If you are able to get reliable data on the number of successful completers, you can simply divide the number of dropouts (= all students minus completers) by the number of students enrolled at the beginning of the school year.

For example: (100 enrolled students minus 90 completers) divided by 100 enrolled students equals a 10% dropout rate.


Option 2: Only enrolment data is available

If you are only able to get reliable registration data from the beginning of the school year, then follow this calculation method: Number of students registered in the previous grade (last year) minus students entering a given grade (do not count repeaters) divided by the number of all students enrolled in the previous grade equals dropout rate.

For example, last year, 100 students were registered in Grade 7. This year, 95 students are registered in Grade 8, but 5 of them are repeating Grade 8 because they failed to complete it last year. This means 100 - (95 - 5) = 10 students who dropped out, divided by 100 students who were registered in Grade 7, which equals to a 10% dropout rate (10 / 100 = 10%). 

Disaggregate by

Dropout rate can be disaggregated by grade, gender or by specific group of students (e.g. minority groups).

Important Comments

1) Ensure that data on enrolment and repeaters by grade for two consecutive years are consistent in terms of coverage over time and across grades.


2) You may choose to measure drop out at critical grades with the highest numbers of dropouts.  Which grades are the most common for high dropout rates will vary depending on the country's context.


3) If possible, consider assessing the main reasons for dropping out.


4) Common errors in data collection: Over-reporting enrolment/ repeaters (particularly in grade one); incorrect distinction between new entrants and repeaters; transfers of pupils between grades and schools.


5) Maximum dropout levels can be determined by the educational authorities and/or be used as a basis for school performance evaluation and for fund allocations. In such circumstances, different interests can be involved in dropout calculations. Care should be taken to interpret this indicator, especially when you have no control over the data collection and recording.


6) Dropout rate is closely related with other widely used indicators: Pass rate/ Promotion rate (% of students who are promoted to the next grade level in the following school year, without considering repetitions) and Repetition rate (% of students in a given grade who also attended that same grade in the previous school year). Dropout rate + Pass rate + Repetition rate = 100%.

This guidance was prepared by People in Need ©

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