Grade 9 Retention
The transition from middle school to high school is a critical time for students. Research shows that students who are held back in ninth grade face an elevated risk of dropping out of high school. Students who are retained in the ninth grade are between 2 and 11 times more likely to drop out during high school than their on-time peers. To combat the difficult transition from middle school to high school, ongoing research on this topic can continue to illuminate bright spots as well as areas needing improvement.
About this data:
E3 Alliance relies primarily on data from the University of Texas Education Research Center (ERC). This data allows for a longitudinal understanding of grade 9 retention based on where and when a student attends high school. This data pertains to first-time grade 9 students who were enrolled within the state of Texas during their grade 9 year and the following school year.
Following are items to note:
The year of the data represents the year when students were in grade 9. A student is defined as having been retained in grade 9 if the student is still enrolled in grade 9 in the fall following their first-time grade 9 school year. There is a delay in data availability due to state approval within the ERC and analysis time. As such, if you choose to explore data from Central Texas, the graphs below present grade 9 retention data in the most recent available year in Texas schools.
715 / 27,455
Grade 9 Retention Rate
1,203 / 26,070
Rio Grande Valley
Grade 9 Retention Rate
Digging Deeper: Income, Gender, and Race Play a Role in Grade 9 Retention Rates
Reviewing the latest retention data by student groups based on their gender, income, and race allows us to take a closer look at which students are being underserved by education systems.
For the 2018-2019 school year in Texas, grade 9 retention rates for Asian females from non-low-income households were the lowest (1%), while grade 9 retention rates for Black males from low-income households were the highest (15%).
For all racial groups, females from non-low-income households were retained in grade 9 at the lowest rates, followed by males from non-low-income households, then females from low-income households, and males from low-income households.
Grade 9 Retention Rate, 2020
Grade 9 Retention Varies by Race
Grade 9 retention rates in Texas show racial disparities that point to the need for systemic change around opportunities, access, and support.
For the 2018-2019 school year in Texas, high schools were retaining grade 9 Black students at a rate of over 8 times more than grade 9 Asian students (Black - 10%, Asian - 1%).
Look at disparities in persistence in your region by using the comparison feature. Are disparities larger or smaller in your region as compared to the state?
Disparities Exist in Grade 9 Retention by Household Income
Household income disparities in grade 9 retention exist for Texas’ high school students.
In Texas, for the 2018-2019 school year, 10% of 9th grade students from low-income households were retained, while 3% of 9th grade students from non-low-income were retained.
Compare your region to the state by using the comparison feature. Are there greater or lesser disparities in your region?
Texas Grade 9 Retention Rates Decreasing Over Last Ten Years
High school dropout rates have been decreasing over the past ten years for Texas, and the same trend is found for Texas grade 9 retention rates.
In Texas overall, grade 9 retention rates decreased from 10% for the 2008-2009 school year to 7% for the 2018-2019 school year.
See how the trend in your region compares to the state at large by using the comparison feature.
Disparities in Grade 9 Retention by Household Income Have Been Reduced but Progress is Stalling
Disparities in grade 9 retention continue for Texas students from low-income households as compared to those from non-low-income households. Despite a reduction in grade 9 retention rates since 2009, this disparity remains.
For students from low-income households, grade 9 retention rates decreased from 15% in 2008-2009 to 10% in 2018-2019.
For students from non-low-income households, grade 9 retention rates decreased from 6% in 2008-2009 to 3% in 2018-2019.
Use the comparison feature to view the trend in your region as compared to the state. Is the trend moving in the same direction? Are the disparities increasing, decreasing, or remaining the same over time?
Disparities in Dropouts by Race Persist Over Time
In Texas, all student groups have seen a decrease in grade 9 retention rates over the past decade. Although the trends have been similar across groups, the disparities between the highest and lowest retained groups have persisted.
Use the comparison feature to look at trends in your region by race over the past 10 years, as compared to the state. How have disparities increased or decreased in your region?