April 26, 2013

The April 22 Metro article “Magnet school attracts Asians,” about admissions at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, was very confusing. The beginning of the second paragraph opened with the statement: “Since 2009, the number of Asian students admitted to Thomas Jefferson has risen 21 percent . . . .” This appeared above a chart showing the admission rate for Asian students falling from 24 percent in 2009 to 22 percent in 2013.

Later, the article stated that Asian students will make up 66 percent of next year’s freshman class, as opposed to 54 percent in 2009. If the proportion admitted dropped while the number admitted went up, this suggests a dramatic increase in the number who applied, a point that was never stated.

This article needed a more systematic presentation of the raw data. How did the number of applicants and the number of admitted students vary by ethnic group in the past five years? The numbers would have helped readers understand and evaluate the significance of changes much better than did the graphed changes in percentage points.

Scott Wing, Arlington

Continue reading