Further Analysis of Richmond’s Ninth Grade Bump

We have seen that Richmond’s “ninth grade bump” is more than twice the state average. It also follows a long, steep slide in enrollment with steeper drops at the fourth and sixth grades.


In light of Richmond’s large population of economically disadvantaged (“ED”) students (70% this year), the first place to look for the source of these enrollment changes is the data for that group.  The VDOE database is happy to produce those data.


Hmmm.  The ED population shows the same elementary and middle school decreases but only half of the Richmond 9th grade bump. 

Back to the database. 

To keep the graph from being too complicated, here are the Virginia and Richmond data on separate charts.



Here “Disab” is children with disabilities and “LEP” is limited English proficiency (aka ESL) students.

This looks like an influx of LEP students in the lower grades, both statewide and in Richmond, with a large LEP bump statewide and a huge one in Richmond.  Note that the Richmond LEP bump is too large to be explained by students being held back in the 9th grade; apparently we have an influx of 9th grade LEP students this year.

The raw numbers show the contributions of the various groups.



The raw numbers paint the picture more clearly.

image image

Richmond’s large ED population contributes 30% to the bump, while the state’s much smaller ED population accounts for 32%.  Richmond’s small disabled and LEP populations produce disproportionate numbers of students held back in the ninth grade, with the LEP students accounting for 41% of Richmond’s entire bump.

Also notable here, the ED, disabled, LEP, and homeless populations together account for 100.7% of Richmond’s bump (doubtless some overlapping populations there) while statewide students who are not ED, disabled, LEP, migrant, or homeless contribute 27% of the state’s ninth grade bump.

Our Superintendent has emphasized the challenges posed by Richmond’s LEP students.  These data tell us that challenge, already remarkably large, is about to explode.