Failing upward in Tucson

Social promotion policies enable Tucson students to get through school without the skills they’ll need to qualify for a job or pass a community college course, concludes a 10-month investigation by the Arizona Daily Star. One third of middle and high school students fail a core academic class; 90 percent were promoted to the next grade.

Furthermore, some of the students who pass may not be competent, thanks to grade inflation, especially in middle schools.

At Naylor Middle School, for example, about 9 percent of eighth-graders failed English courses last year. Meanwhile, 59 percent failed the AIMS reading test and 40 percent failed the writing component.

By the time Tucson students get to the local community college, 79 percent must take remedial math, 48 percent take remedial writing and 32 percent are placed in remedial reading.

About Joanne