DCPS Documents on Altered Student Records

DCPS Documents on Altered Student Records Documents from the District of Columbia Public Schools Nonpartisan Education Review / Resources



Documents Related to DCPS Altered Student Records


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Independent Review of Student Records at 16 District of Columbia public high schools in 2003. In response to a teacher's report of unauthorized grade changes by administrators and diplomas awarded to ineligible students at Wilson High School (DCPS), the superintendent authorized an independent review of:


Altered Student Records in DCPS

Includes:

Reports of student grade reports that were submitted by one or more teachers to the school principal or designee were changed without the teachers' approval; and/or

Reports that students were awarded the high school diploma despite having failed to complete all graduation requirements as mandated by the D.C. Board of Education (since 2007, D.C. State Board of Education):


A. Timeline

June 2002: Woodrow Wilson High School social studies teacher Erich Martel submits allegations to DCPS Supt. Paul Vance and to the Washington Post, that 78 members of the class of 2001 and 15 prospective graduates of the class of 2002 had not completed the courses required for the high school diploma.

September 2002: The accounting firm Gardiner Kamya & Associates is contracted to conduct an "agreed-upon procedures" review of the records of:

DCPS received the report in September 2003, but did not release until December 2003.

Findings: [link to the Gardiner Kamya report]

1. 12 of the 15 did not meet all graduation requirements

2. Except for one high school, where the principal refused to provide the records, the reviewers found inconsistencies, undocumented grade changes in almost every high school and concluded that there was a likelihood of tampering with the records.

May 2006: Social studies teacher Erich Martel submits allegations to DCPS Superintendent. Clifford Janey, the Office of the Inspector General (IG) and the media, that 203 of the 420 seniors listed as prospective graduates were missing or on track to fail courses required for graduation.

At the request of the supt., the IG agreed to conduct an audit of the alleged ineligible students' records.

June 2006: Wilson H.S. principal submits an official list of 317 graduates to the supt., this number and the names are not reported to the faculty or public.

July 2006: A school board member gives Martel the list of 317 graduates' names of which 93 are from his original list of ineligible graduates.

September 2006: The IG begins the audit

April 5, 2007: The IG report is posted on the IG website and publicly released: AUDIT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS’ GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS, http://tinyurl.com/k2hdckb

Findings: Of the 93 seniors whose records were audited:

17 were improperly graduated (awarded diplomas)

18 had been incorrectly listed as graduates; they were still attending Wilson

12 students were found to be eligible after counselors found evidence of completion that had not been previously entered in the students' official transcripts;

46 students were found to be eligible, because the violation Martel had reported was the result of the DCPS administration failing to inform principals by directive.

DC Board of Education Raised Diploma Requirements, Ignoring Wilson High School Evidence of Its Harms

In 2007, when the DC Board of Education raised the number of math & science credits needed to graduate from 3 to 4 credits, it ignored evidence from Wilson High School's 2006 graduating class showing that struggling students would find it harder to graduate. [link to report]


B. Journal Reports

Erich Martel "Protecting Academic Standards" American Educator (AFT), Winter 2006-07

https://www.aft.org/periodical/american-educator/winter-2006-2007/protecting-academic-standards

Overview of the two events and recommendations to protect records integrity:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/11/AR2006091101205.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/online-credit-recovery-may-make-graduation-too-easy/2012/04/21/gIQAddsGaT_story.html?utm_term=.6e3e3eaa3466

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/12/AR2006091200709.html