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Reader Sally Smith e-mailed me to reiterate an important point about the Newsweek rankings that rate schools based on the percentage of teens taking Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams: It doesn’t measure the percentage who pass the exams.

Fortunately, San Diego Unified just did. A recent report shows AP test-taking and passage rates for high schools in the 2006-2007 school year.

Click on the report, and compare two schools in the San Diego High School complex: the School of Communication (CIMA) and International Studies. International Studies just got high marks on Newsweek’s rankings because of the high percentage of students taking tests.

But last year, nearly twice as many CIMA students passed AP exams, even though many more International Studies students took the tests. For more on rankings and the AP exam, check out this column by voice alumnus Vlad Kogan, who dissected the claims and counterclaims about the Preuss School, which also ranked high on Newsweek’s list.

EMILY ALPERT

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