9th Grade Course Failure

This visualization from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) shows the percent of 9th grade students who did not complete the credits they attempted in English language arts, math, and science. Failing courses in 9th grade is an early warning that students are at risk of not graduating.

Overall average 9th grade course failure rates (across all 3 subjects) for Washington state was 22.5%. Among King County school districts in 2016:

  • 5 districts – all in South Region – had overall failure rates at or above the Washington state average (Auburn, 23.5%; Federal Way, 31.5%; Highline, 26.8%; Renton, 26.0%; and Tukwila, 37.5%).

  • The 5 districts with the lowest failure rates – all in East Region – were Issaquah (8.2%), Lake Washington (7.0%), Mercer Island (3.5%), Northshore (5.0%), and Riverview (9.5%).   

school district failure.jpg

Both across and within school districts, disparities in 9th grade course failure were found by race, ethnicity, income, participation in special education or section 504 (disability accommodations), facility with English, gender, and income.  

In 2016, within-district disparities included:

  • Income: The 9th grade course failure rate in the Vashon Island School District was 6.5% for non-low income students, but 45.2% for low income students.

  • Race/ethnicity: In the Renton School District, 23.3% of white students failed one or more 9th grade course, while 38.9% of Black/African American students did.

  • Migrant status: In Seattle Public Schools, other than race/ethnicity, the largest disparity was for migrant status: 50.0% of migrant students failed one or more course, compared to 18.4% of non-migrant students.

For more information on 9th grade course failure, including steps school districts can take to support 9th grade success, please refer to OSPI. This presentation may be helpful in understanding and navigating the data visualization.


Notes & Sources

Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Performance Indicators: http://www.k12.wa.us/DataAdmin/PerformanceIndicators/DataAnalytics.aspx 

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