Texas' actual graduation rate in 2002-03 was 66.8%, not the 84.2% the state reported, according to studies to be presented Friday at a Rice University conference. The disparity, which stems from using different approaches to counting certain categories of students, means policymakers and others risk using misleading information in their decision-making, one researcher says. A spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency disputed the researchers' methodology and said, "We do not think our graduation rate is inflated."

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