Pupils are more likely to be held back in elementary school than in the upper grades, and a 1994 survey of students 15 to 17 years old found that 13 percent had repeated at least one grade, the Census Bureau says.
Educators have been debating the worth of grade retention in recent months as states, trying to raise academic standards, began requiring students to pass tests before being promoted. But some studies have found dropout rates much higher for pupils held behind their classmates, even among those receiving special tutoring.
Ten percent of the 15- to 17-year-olds had been retained by the time they were in sixth grade, the report said. Two percent more were held back by ninth grade, and an additional 1 percent by the senior year.