New nationwide data collected by the U.S. Department of Education's civil rights office reveal stark racial and ethnic disparities in student retentions, with black and Hispanic students far more likely than white students to repeat a grade, especially in elementary and middle school.
The contrast is especially strong for African-Americans. In the most extreme case, more than half of all 4th graders retained at the end of the 2009-10 academic year—56 percent—were black, according to the data, which account for about 85 percent of the nation's public school population. In 3rd grade, 49 percent of those held back were black.
Those findings come even though African-American students represented less than one-fifth of the entire universe of students in the K-12 data set collected from districts.
In all, nearly 1 million students, or 2.3 percent of those enrolled, were retained across K-12, the data show. Black students were nearly three times as likely as white students to be retained, when combining all grade levels. Hispanic students were twice as likely to be held back.
The new Civil Rights Data Collection, a portion of which was provided to Education Week last week, was scheduled for public release on March 6...
Repeating GradesThe number of students who had to repeat a grade in the 2010-11 school year spiked in 9th grade. In most grade levels, black and Hispanic students make up a large and disproportionate number of those retained, according to ﬁrst-ever, nationwide data from the U.S. Department of Education’s ofﬁce for civil rights.