The April issue of D Magazine featured a cover story titled “The Ultimate Newcomer’s Guide to Dallas.” For one of the items, we ranked select North Texas school districts using data from Children at Risk, a nonprofit, non-partisan research and advocacy institution. We used CAR’s rankings of high schools to create an average ranking for each district. You can learn more about CAR’s ranking methodology here (warning: PDF). Allen ISD fell near the bottom of our list, which prompted us to write: “Given that its one high school is ranked 90th in North Texas, it might be smarter to buy a house a few miles north in McKinney or west in Plano or Frisco.”
We hereby retract that statement and apologize to the folks in Allen for printing it. CAR used bad data for the school’s graduate rate to rank Allen ISD’s high school. Using an accurate measure of Allen’s graduate rate would put the district someplace right at the top of the list that we published. This correction will also appear in our May issue.
Now then, Lance Hindt, Allen’s superintendent, took a lot of time to get to the bottom of this matter with CAR. And the district’s chief information officer, Tim Carroll, took even more time to explain it to me. The short version is that Allen High is a grades 10-12 campus, which CAR didn’t account for when it figured the school’s graduation rate. But here’s the longer explanation from Carroll and Hindt:
CAR examines how many Grade 9 students graduated within the state of Texas 4 years later and then attribute that rate to students’ starting Grade 9 campus, whereas the state assigns the rate based on students’ last campus attended. Allen High School is a Grade 10-12 campus, but we did have 8 students who were classified as Grade 9 students enrolled in 2009-10.
Those 8 students had not earned enough credit in 9th grade so they were at Allen HS trying to catch up. Four years later, four of them graduated and four did not. The CAR calculations were based on those 8 students instead of the more than 1,200 students who graduated.
Allen HS has a graduation rate on the Texas Academic Performance Report of 97.3% (4-year) and 99.3% (6-year).