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9th grade on-track rates are more predictive of graduation than all background factors combined.
Students who are on-track at the end of their 9th grade year—earn at least a quarter of the credits needed for four-year graduation and receive no more than one “F” in a core course—are as much as four times more likely to graduate from high school than their off-track peers. In fact, the 9th grade on track metric is more predictive of a student’s likelihood of graduating than race, ethnicity, poverty level and prior test scores combined. (Allensworth, 2013)
Students across the 8th grade achievement spectrum experience significant grade declines in all subject areas when they transition to high school. (Rosenkranz, T., de la Torre, M., Stevens, W.D., & Allensworth, E.M. (2014). Free to fail or on-track to college: Why grades drop when students enter high school and what adults can do about it. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research)
70-80% of all students who failed 9th grade will not graduate from high school. (Wyner et al. (2007). Achievement Trap: How America is Failing Millions of High-Achieving Students from Lower-Income Families. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.)