DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The day before Woodrow Wilson High School’s graduating seniors received their diplomas, they received some startling news.
“Everybody’s asking, ‘What’s going on?’” recalls parent Jennifer Woods.
Woods’ daughter was ranked 38th in her class, putting her in the top 9 percent, but the district was suddenly recalculating its rankings.
“Based on the rerank, she’s 24th which puts her at 5-and-a-half percent, which is great for us, not so great for the other students she displaced,” said Woods.
Woods isn’t complaining because her daughter was unfairly disadvantaged, but because she thinks she unfairly benefitted from the district’s new formula, which gave some students in the International Baccalaureate (IB) honors program more credit than others who sat in the exact same classes.
“Two students sitting next together doing the same work, taking the same test, turning in the same paper, however, the IB students got two credits, the AP student got one.” said Woods.
Jackson Hansen lost his spot as salutatorian, but says he’s more upset for how it affected his friends.
“I know people who dropped over 30 places because of this,” he said.
Piper Simon dropped out of the top 10 percent, which she worries could affect her college scholarship.
“I could risk losing that scholarship and might not be able to go there anymore,” she said.
Dallas ISD’s Chief of School Leadership, Stephanie Elizalde, says the district was late in applying changes made by the Texas Education Agency to how some classes are weighed for IB students.
“We failed to identify all of the courses that needed to be changed,” says Elizalde. “I’m held accountable for that. There’s absolutely no other place that the responsibility rests.”
But parents who say they contacted TEA directly claim the district also misunderstood what the agency was asking it to do. Elizalde said she’s now seeking clarification, which could lead to yet another adjustment in class rankings.
CBS11 reached out to the TEA, but has not received a response.