Apparent retention rates estimate the progression of students through school over several years, through several year levels. They measure the proportion of a year group (or cohort) that is still enrolled after one or more calendar years – in other words, the net change in the size of a cohort as students leave or join it.
These rates are designated as ‘apparent’ because they are based on aggregate enrolment data and do not record the progression of individual students. Apparent retention rates do not distinguish between students progressing at a ‘normal’ rate of one grade per calendar year and students who repeat a grade or are promoted, thus moving between cohorts; students who choose to adopt flexible study patterns in senior years; or students who join or leave a cohort through migration.
The Key Performance Measure (KPM) related to apparent retention is the apparent retention rate from Year 10 to Year 12 (KPM 1e). For 2022, this is a measure of the percentage of Year 10 students in 2020 that continued to Year 12 in 2022. This measure is more reliable at the national level than at state and territory level, and less reliable for geographic areas with mobile populations and for individual schools.