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Volume 19 Issue 2


Freshman, high school, 9th grade, failing, white students, black students


This study assesses the course failures among Arkansas high school freshmen by different student demographic and programmatic characteristics. We analyze 10 independent cohorts of Arkansas freshmen for descriptive analyses, and then we limit our analytic sample to the two most recent years of data. Algebra I is the most commonly failed course among Arkansas freshmen. Using logit analyses, we find economically disadvantaged students are nine percentage points more likely to fail a course their freshman year than their more advantaged peers after controlling for prior academic achievement and district characteristics and fixed effects. This study is the first research study conducted on Arkansas course for failure high school freshmen. We discuss our findings in the context of course failures among different demographic and programmatic characteristics and conclude with policy suggestions for district leaders to implement and help lead more students to success.