RPS uncovers years of inflated graduation rates

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras tells 8News he fears his district’s already low graduation rate could fall even lower after errors were discovered during a recent transcript review, putting hundreds of students’ graduation in jeopardy. 

For months RPS has been reviewing high school students transcripts after errors were discovered. The issues date back to 2015.

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

In November 2018, the Virginia Department of Education gave RPS a deadline to review all high school transcripts.

They are still in the process of reviewing transcripts. RPS said as of now they have reviewed current senior transcripts eight times and will be doing so up until graduation.

“Richmond Public Schools is 100 percent committed to ensuring that every one of our students’ graduates and graduates on time,” RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras said.

RPS apologizes for errors

Kamras apologized Tuesday for errors during Monday’s school board meeting where RPS listed the wrong number of seniors expected to graduate on time and displayed a student’s personal transcript information.

“What was intended to be said was about 500 students. Five hundred seniors are on track for graduation and about 300 are what we call likely to graduate in June,” Kamras said. “We can’t say for certain that they will.”

For the remaining 280 seniors, they will need to complete summer school or online classes as well as their individual learning plan in order to receive a diploma this summer or later in the year.

As RPS works to correct the mistakes, Superintendent Kamras said to expect graduation rates to be lower than last year’s.

RPS is now working to correct issues that may have inflated graduation rates, such as automatically awarding credit for a class.

“Locally awarded credit where the school division needs to verify that a student has gained mastery in that class, ” Kamras said. “There’s a process you’re supposed to go through and as best as we can tell that process has not been always happening. … We are no longer doing that.”

‘It is possible that our graduation rate will be lower’

These issues are the latest hiccup for a school division that already owns the lowest graduation rate in the state at 75 percent. 

“It is possible that our graduation rate will be lower next year than it was last year,” Karmas said.”The exact extent of that I won’t know until all grades are in, until all SOLs have been taken and scored.”

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

The administration plans on working with counselors and students to better communicate their plan for graduation.

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