Hundreds of RPS students may graduate late due to errors found during transcript review


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Public Schools’ ‘transcript audit and graduation’ report shows hundreds of students may be graduating late due to errors found during transcript review. The report was shared during Monday night’s school board meeting, but 8News noticed an error in the presentation.

The total number of students on track and the total number of students to likely finish in June were mixed up.

RPS Chief of Staff Michelle Hudacsko clarified to 8News Tuesday morning that 507 students are on track to graduate on-time and 303 are likely to get their diplomas in June. 

Hudacsko said those 303 students are almost guaranteed to graduate, but just need to follow steps set up by guidance counselors.

Approximately 800 students are expected to walk across the graduation stage. 

Hudacsko also said the numbers regarding students who are likely to graduate late — 162 students in the summer and 118 students next school year — are accurate and that RPS is working to make sure those students complete their courses. 

RPS later issued a statement regarding Monday’s presentation errors and attached the updated slide with the correct numbers: 

During the May 20th Richmond City School Board Meeting, the RPS administration provided an update on graduation projections. On slide 7, the total number of students in the “On track” and “Likely June” columns were transposed. The updated slide is attached and the correct numbers are as follows:

  • 507 seniors are “On track”. These are students who are fully expected to meet the graduation requirements and graduate in June.
  • 303 seniors are “Likely June” (meaning they are likely to graduate in June). These are students who are currently completing graduation requirements, such as earning a CTE credential.

We apologize for this error and any frustration and confusion it has caused.

Last year, Richmond Public Schools announced that since 2015, the school system had been awarding high school credit ‘erroneously for a number of classes.’

That prompted RPS to request a waiver from the Virginia Department of Education to ensure that students did not lose credits after some were enrolled in courses that had never been approved by the board or received extra credit for classes.

The waiver was denied

RPS then said they would be reviewing every single high school transcript to ensure that necessary adjustments were made.

RELATED: Controversy surrounding RPS audit, transcripts concerns parents about graduation

“Please note that very few of the credits being denied are necessary for graduation,” RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras said back in 2018.

The 2018 RPS high school report said that current seniors could expect an updated transcript by February 1, 2019. Transcripts for all other high school students would be reviewed and updated by April 1, 2019. 

The transcript work is still ongoing

RPS said senior transcripts have been reviewed eight times. Multiple rounds were necessary as new issues kept being identified with every round.

All other high school student’s transcripts have been reviewed at least twice. RPS noted in their report that they are still displaying errors.

As of now, RPS has found that most errors are:

  • Courses taken multiple times for credit

  • Courses taken in middle school

  • Inappropriately assigned credit

  • Unapproved local courses that shouldn’t have resulted in credit

In addition to transcript issues, the audit revealed much deeper issues for RPS

Ineffective scheduling, lack of systematic tracking of progress for graduation, absence of codified business rules that prevent technology from being a reliable tool.

According to the report, students were not scheduled for correct courses or even full course loads, seniors missing verified credits or missing necessary credit required for a course but still being enrolled in the course.

RELATED: Richmond Public Schools owns lowest high school graduation rate in the state

As well as no system for validating course codes or no checks or validations of GPA and class ranks.

The lack of verified credits as required by diploma type is the most common reason for students are at risk for late graduation.

RPS says they have made individual action plans for students at risk of not graduating

  • Students have been scheduled for correct courses and placed in SOL remediation

  • Students who need more time are already registered for summer school and plan to graduate at the end of summer

  • Some students who require additional course work will graduate in 2019-20.

“Though the Administration, of course, wants to do everything possible to ensure as many RPS seniors as possible graduate, it will be ending some inappropriate practices that have artificially boosted graduation rates in the past,” RPS said.

The school system will also be launching a ‘Graduation Progress Report’ to monitor next year.

Stay with 8News for updates.

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