Monday, January 13, 2014

Toledo school officials to be investigated in data scrubbing scandal

The Ohio Department of Education is going to investigate whether to suspend or revoke the licenses of staff in seven school districts, including Toledo, that scrubbed student attendance data. Non-licensed staff in the districts could received other types of punishments.

The ODE's professional conduct office will investigate whether any licensed individuals participated in "conduct unbecoming to the teaching profession" by contributing to the inaccurate data that was submitted to the state.

ODE said it found seven improperly reported Education Management Information System data during the 2010-11 school year. The other districts are Campbell City, Cincinnati Public, Cleveland Metropolitan, Marion City, Northridge Local, and Winton Woods City schools.

"Misreporting of attendance data or 'scrubbing' jeopardizes the entire accountability system in Ohio and will not be tolerated," Superintendent of Public Instruction Dick Ross said in a release. "These actions will be investigated and may result in professional conduct sanctions up to and including suspension or revocation of licensure."

In 2012, State Auditor Dave Yost began looking into the practices of some districts to un-enroll students and then re-enroll students in a presumed effort to exclude those students' test scores from the districts' report card calculation.

The department reviewed more than 8,500 student records including:

  • 39 records in Campbell City Schools and found 37 were improperly withdrawn.
  • 34 in Canton City Schools and found zero were improperly withdrawn.
  • 148 in Cincinnati Public Schools and found 130 were improperly withdrawn.
  • 7,624 in Cleveland Metropolitan Schools and found 3,540 were improperly withdrawn.
  • 58 in Marion City Schools and found zero were improperly withdrawn.
  • 63 in Northridge Local Schools and found 44 were improperly withdrawn.
  • 614 in Toledo Public Schools and found 425 were improperly withdrawn.
  • 14 in Winton Woods City Schools and found 11 were improperly withdrawn.

Report cards for the 2010-11 school year will be recalculated and rereleased for the six districts that had improperly withdrawn students, adding those students' test scores back into the grade card calculation, ODE said.

"We are committed to collecting accurate data and will require districts to submit corrective action plans to address these concerns," Ross said. "We also determined that approximately 50% of the records reviewed indicated the improper withdrawal of students from schools and should be included in the district and school report card calculations."

ODE said it will investigate districts' 2011-12 school year EMIS data to determine whether improper reporting of student withdrawals occurred in that year as well.

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