FAKING THE GRADE: Audit costs $390,000, still leaves gaps

Seven On Your Side Faking the Grade (ABC7 file photo)

A contract obtained by the ABC7 I-Team shows an audit of DC Public Schools by the DC firm of Alvarez and Marsal and paid for by the Office of State Superintendent will cost up to $390,000.

This audit comes after the I-Team reported on attendance problems and allegations of grade inflation at Ballou High School since October.

The audit will examine DCPS’ Ballou High School “for compliance with its own policies and statewide policies for attendance and graduation, specifically policies regarding absences and receipt of credit, and implementation of credit recovery programs, and investigate whether there was inappropriate influence on staff behavior and compliance at Ballou High School.”

That section of the audit is due to the State Superintendent no later than January 12.

The second section, due January 26, will look at other schools. However, that section, calling for a look at other schools other than Ballou High School is not looking at a complete set of records, according to the contract.

The contract states the audit will “conduct an investigative sampling of the validity of transcripts of graduating seniors from 2016-2017 in other DCPS high schools.” The I-Team has examined the transcript and attendance records for multiple DCPS schools. Only when both are looked at are problems highlighted where students achieve grades in violation of DCPS policy on attendance.

"Nobody can let their pride or their politics get in the way of doing what's right and this is a situation where everybody has to take responsibility and do what's right for these students. That's why I think, frankly, there has to be an independent investigation. Certainly, when the agency's report comes out in a couple of weeks, it's going to be met with skepticism," said DC Council and Education Committee member Robert White.

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