• News Release: Follow-Up Audit Reveals Substantial Improvements In Grade Changes And Graduation Certification Issues In Six Months

    News Release: Follow-Up Audit Reveals Substantial Improvements In Grade Changes And Graduation Certification Issues In Six Months

    December 4, 2018
    For Immediate Release
    Office of Communications

    UPPER MARLBORO, MD—Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) has greatly improved accuracy in grading and nearly eliminated issues related to the graduation certification process, according to a follow-up study commissioned by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).

    The results, which will be presented Tuesday to the State Board of Education, gave the school system high marks for fixing problems related to graduation errors and inappropriate grade changes. The follow-up study was conducted by Alvarez and Marsal Public Sector Services (A&M), which performed the original audit.

    “The audit findings clearly indicate the level of seriousness that our leaders, administrators and teachers gave to these issues, said Dr. Monica Goldson, Interim Chief Executive Officer. “Parents, employees, community members and especially students must have confidence in high school diplomas awarded by Prince George’s County Public Schools. My job is to continue our focus on doing right by those who matter most.”

    In assessing the implementation of the school system’s Action Plan from January to July, A&M found evidence that 38 out of 40 recommendations in the original audit had been fully or partially implemented. Auditors reviewed 1,085 students in its sample, concluding that 98.9 percent of students graduated without any grade change or transcript violations. “PGCPS greatly reduced the degree to which grade changes were used and misused,” the study noted.

    However, in a new finding, the auditors concluded that PGCPS must provide more oversight and support to enforce attendance-related grading requirements and ensure data accuracy. PGCPS will review the new audit findings and submit a plan to MSDE by Jan. 11.

    Findings from the original audit were released in November 2017. Since then, the school system undertook numerous steps to correct practices and protocols and increase public confidence:

    • Implemented new processes for monitoring excessive grade changes and weekly grade input reports, including a review of the number of grades entered per week in the gradebook, missing report card grades and excessive absences.
    • Enacted stricter controls on access to student records, limited the number of staff members authorized to make grade changes and eliminated the use of Quarterly Learning Modules (QLMs) as an option for credit recovery.
    • Provided professional school counselors with additional time to update all student records for graduation certification and mandatory training for grade and transcript managers.
    • Upgraded technology and moved some practices online for better accuracy and accountability.
    • Improved communication with staff and parents about grading procedures and change request deadlines.

    For more information, visit the PGCPS Graduation Rates Audit information webpage.

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    About PGCPS:  Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS), the nation's 20th largest school district, has 208 schools and centers, more than 136,500 students and 22,000 employees. Under the leadership of CEO Dr. Monica Goldson and the Prince George's County Board of Education, the school system serves a diverse student population from urban, suburban and rural communities located in the Washington, DC suburbs. PGCPS is nationally recognized for college and career-readiness programs that provide students with unique learning opportunities, including dual enrollment and language immersion.