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In the 2022-23 school year, the number of students in kindergarten through fifth grade who did not advance to the next grade is 4,525

This represents 47% of the 9,583 students that did not advance to the next grade.


According to information provided by the Puerto Rico Department of Education (DEPR), 47% (4,525) of the 9,583 students who did not pass the school year that ended in May 2023 are students who were in grades between kindergarten and fifth grade[1]. Even so, this figure shows an improvement compared to the little more than 12,000 students who did not pass the grade in 2022[2] and is far from the almost 24,000 students who were candidates for not passing the grade in the 2021 school year, and of which 13,000 failed in all subjects. [3] Of the 9,583 students who did not pass the grade, 4,525 are first and fifth grade students, which means 47% of the failures. [4]

On the other hand, of the total failures, 1,843 were eligible for replacement through the summer program. In previous years, only those students who obtained an F grade in two or fewer subjects were eligible for the program. However, this year the program was made more flexible to serve students with failures in up to three subjects. This program is only available to students in grades six through twelve. Students in first through fifth grade cannot participate in the remedial program.

School failure peaked after the start of the pandemic. In March 2020, the country entered quarantine due to COVID-19 and students completed the year with classes from their homes. In April it was announced that all students in the public system would be promoted to a higher degree. Meanwhile, those who did not meet the requirements to advance in grade, “would be conditionally promoted.” [5]

The Puerto Rico Teachers Association, the official union organization of teachers in the country, urged the DEPR to study the reasons for such failure. For the Association, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the way education was taught. The lack of tools in the homes of these students, added to the low schooling of their parents or guardians and the high levels of poverty among a large part of the student population in the public system, could have had a negative impact on the academic life of these students. [6]

In the three school years prior to COVID-19, the percentage of failures in the country’s public system was 4.81% in 2016-2017, 4.16% in 2017-2018, 4.58% in 2018-2019, 8.2% in 2021, 4.34% in 2022 and 3.69% at the end of the year in May 2023. [7]






[1] Virella, A. (2023, August 6). Casi 10 mil estudiantes no pasaron de grado en mayo. Metro.

[2] Guillama, M (2022, June 13) Se reduce significativamente la cantidad de estudiantes que reprobaron cursos en el sistema público. Metro.

[3] Educación revela que 13,000 estudiantes fracasaron en todas las materias. Noticel.

[4] Virella, A. (2023, August 10). Casi el 50% de los estudiantes que no pasaron de grado son de nivel elemental. Metro.

[5] Metro. (2020, April 24). Educación pasará de grado a todos los estudiantes.

[6] Cordero, D. (2021, June 2). La Asociación de Maestros urge a evaluar las razones para que cerca de 24,000 estudiantes fracasaran el grado. El Nuevo Día.

[7] Cordero, D. (2021, May 10) No serán promovidos de grado los estudiantes que no cumplan con los requisitos de desempeño académico. El Nuevo Día.