Schools in Ohio District Pruned Records, Four Say

Monday, June 25, 2012

A team of data-processing workers inflated Columbus schools’ attendance figures by routinely and purposely removing large numbers of absent students from the rolls, four former district data analysts told The Dispatch.

At the same time, district administrators summoned school principals to the Kingswood Data Center. There, they were schooled in how to alter other students’ attendance data to improve the schools’ academic standing.

Sometimes, they’d retroactively withdraw and re-enroll chronically absent students to erase their poor attendance records, current and former district employees say. Their schoolwide attendance and academic numbers would improve in just a few computer keystrokes because the withdrawn students’ test scores would no longer count.

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