Fisher, et al v. Tucson Unified, et al
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION of Special Master - RE:UHS Admissions Process Revisions. (Attachments: # 1 Admissions Process Attachment A, # 2 UHS Admissions Process Attachment B, # 3 UHS Admissions Process Fisher Attachment C, # 4 UHS Admissions Process TUSD Attachment D)(SMBE)
Special Master (SM) Willis Hawley
Plaintiffs Roy Fisher, et al (Fisher Plaintiffs)
The Fisher Plaintiffs’ objection to and request for a report and
recommendation regarding the University High School (UHS) Admissions
Process Revision (APR) as approved by the Tucson Unified School District
(TUSD) Governing Board (GB).
The Fisher Plaintiffs object to the UHS APR
The Fisher Plaintiffs herewith submit to the SM their objection to and request for a report and
recommendation regarding the UHS APR as approved by the TUSD GB. The Fisher Plaintiffs
submitted objections to earlier versions of the UHS admissions process proposal on 08/26/13 and
09/06/13. In their 08/26/13 comments, the Fisher Plaintiffs raised two objections:
It is difficult to comment on the efficacy vel non of the proposed use of academic
resiliency measures in admissions without knowing how that measure would impact
actual admissions. While the measure seems difficult to assess independent of
confounding socioeconomic variables, its consideration is not inherently objectionable.
Rather than focusing on maintaining a high admissions bar, the Fisher Plaintiffs believe
UHS would better direct its efforts at educating a broader spectrum of potentially highperforming students by ensuring that the students it does admit receive the support they
will need to succeed at UHS; and
Like [SM] Hawley, the Fisher Plaintiffs question the assumed validity of the CogAT.
The Fisher Plaintiffs believe that such testing instruments are culturally biased and serve
as a de facto barrier to the representative admission of low SES AA and MA students to
In their 09/06/13 comments, the Fisher Plaintiffs summarized their top three priorities for the
UHS admissions plan as follows:
[The] Fisher Plaintiffs believe UHS would better direct its efforts at educating a broader
spectrum of potentially high-performing students by ensuring that the students it does
admit receive the support they will need to succeed at UHS;
Whatever admissions criteria used, we should be able to determine (by applying those
criteria to past application data) how much they will increase the percentage of AA and
MA students admitted to UHS; and
Just admitting AA students won't ensure they will graduate. Additional academic support
will be necessary. What will that be?
The Fisher Plaintiffs join the Mendoza Plaintiffs’ 10/31/13 objection to the UHS APR
The Fisher Plaintiffs incorporate by reference any outstanding concerns raised in the SM’s
09/06/13 memorandum and formally join the Mendoza Plaintiffs in their 10/31/13 objection to
the UHS APR where they state that:
With respect to [the motivation] test, the Revision is incomplete. It states that the CAIMI
or “other relevant measures” will be employed but does not state the basis on which the
decision to use some “other relevant measure” will be made. Neither, in the form
approved by the Governing Board, does it state what weight will be given to the results of
this motivation test.
The USP expressly states that the District “shall administer the appropriate UHS
admission test(s) for all 7th grade students.” [...]. The Revision does not confirm that this
will occur. The District should be required to commit to this testing.
In comments on earlier versions of the UHS admissions process both the Mendoza
Plaintiffs and the Special Master questioned the weights assigned to CogAT scores and
grades in the admissions process and suggested that an evaluation be undertaken to
determine the correlations, if any, between (1) CogAT scores and the grades achieved by
UHS students in their classes and (2) the GPAs of entering students and the grades they
achieve in their UHS classes for the purpose of determining how strong each of these
factors is as a predictor of success at UHS and/or whether the weights assigned to these
factors should be modified [...]. Such requirement, with results broken out by the race,
ethnicity and ELL status of the students, should be expressly included in the Review
section of the Revision.
Absent [from the APR] is an acknowledgement of the specific outreach and recruitment
efforts mandated by the USP in Sec. V, A, 5, b, c, and d. The District should be required
to confirm that these mandated recruitment efforts are in place.
[The] Mendoza Plaintiffs [...] object to any conclusions about the demographics of UHS
and/or Tucson that the District purports to base on a comparison with of [the Illinois
Mathematics and Science Academy] IMSA.
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