A freshman is a student who is in the ninth grade—their first year in high school. Ninth grade can be one of the most critical years for students in high school, partly because research finds that high school freshman grades are more predictive than standardized test scores of students’ academic success in high school and of their college enrollments.
So, if students earn As and Bs in ninth grade, then they are more likely to continue to succeed in high school, enroll in college, and continue into their second year of college than students who earn poor grades in ninth grade. This is not to say that ninth grade is wholly predictive of what a student can achieve. Indeed, sometimes students make mistakes, but they can work hard to overcome them. However, this research does underscore the importance of the ninth grade.