THE BRONX - Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for an end to social promotion for the city?s eighth-grade students in his State of the City address Thursday.

In the past, eighth-grade students could move on to high school, even if they didn?t meet basic requirements in subjects like math or English. The logic was to keep students in the same grade as their friends.

But the mayor has been removing the practice of social promotion from the school system little by little. In 2004, he ended it for third-graders. According to Bloomberg, that age group rose to the challenge and improved performance. Then, he expanded it to fifth and seventh grade, with similar results, he said.

Last year, only 1,300 of the city's 77,000 eighth-graders were held back. Under the mayor?s proposed plan, that number would jump to almost 16,000.

The teacher?s union supports the proposal, saying that social promotion ultimately leaves students unprepared to function in society. The Department of Education says it will hold a town hall meeting to gauge reaction from parents in March.

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