The transition from 8th to 9th grade is a critical time that determines a student’s trajectory in high school. A student that finishes freshman year “on-track,” meaning with one quarter of the credits needed to graduate and without more than one F in a core subject, is four times more likely to graduate on time. But for students who fall behind in these early months, the scramble to catch up can be overwhelming as lesson after lesson builds upon content they never learned. Ninth Grade Success programs – also referred to as Ninth Grade On-Track programs – focus on this critical transition period, and provide individualized supports to students in real-time, helping to keep them on track to graduate before they have the chance to fall behind.
Measure 98 is specifically intended to help educators spread Ninth Grade Success programs across our state. Educators can use their funds to develop new programs, hire needed staff, and develop space for the time commitments needed to run a Ninth Grade Success program. At the Oregon Center for High School Success, we also launched the Ninth Grade Success Network to offer free professional development and access to the foundational research that underpins Ninth Grade Success.
In 2013-14, the Oregon Department of Education began monitoring ninth grade on-track rates. Those same students graduated in 2016-17, giving us the first hard data showing the overwhelmingly positive impact that freshmen on-track policies are having in Oregon.
Here’s just a glimpse of ODE’s report on that impact:
On-track students were more than twice as likely to graduate in four years than their off-track peers (91.07 percent to 40.12 percent);
On-track status alone is credited with more than doubling (137 percent increase) the likelihood of graduating;
These results are consistent across demographic groups.