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Report’s graduation stats questioned by TUSD official

Citizen Staff Writer



A national report on high school graduation rates puts Tucson Unified School District near the top of major districts studied across the country, with a 23 percentage point increase over a 10-year period.

But the report, which TUSD officials called “flawed,” has the district graduating only about half its seniors in 1995.

David Scott, the district’s director of accountability and research, said the graduation rate in 1995 was about 70 percent and 10 years later it was at about 84 percent, about a 14 percent increase.

The current graduation rate is about the same, he said.

Some of the increase from 1995 to 2005 comes from more students actually graduating after four years and some comes from better tracking of students who leave one school to go to another, he said.

The report by America’s Promise Alliance said nationwide from 1995 to 2005, the graduation rate rose on average 4.8 percentage points, from 65.8 percent to 70.6 percent.

“TUSD’s trend is upward, but this report overstates it because it doesn’t account for demographic shifts in local areas,” Scott said.

“If you are in an extremely homogenous community, the numbers probably are fairly accurate,” he said. “But if you are in an urban district where there is a lot of mobility – people moving in and out of school – and have a bump in enrollment like TUSD did during that period, it throws the report’s index way off.”

Officials from the alliance could not be reached for comment late Tuesday when discrepancies between the report and TUSD figures came to light.

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