Report Cards Appear to Show Grade-Changing at Another Baltimore City School
Project Baltimore has obtained report cards from a second Baltimore City school that appear to show grade changing. A high-level school district administrator, who works inside Baltimore City Schools headquarters, tells Fox45 it is “concrete evidence”.
The employee, who we agreed to conceal because of where they work, says the intense pressure to improve city schools on paper has led to the dangerous practice.
“It’s out of control. It’s completely out of control,” the employee said of grade changing in Baltimore City schools.
The report cards we obtained are for 13 students at Calverton Elementary/Middle School in west Baltimore. They are first quarter grades, mostly middle school students. For each of the report cards, we have two versions. One with initial grades, which we’re told were submitted by teachers, and a second version, where every single failing grade is changed to a 60. We asked our source if that could be a coincidence.
“No, because a 60 is a minimum for passing,” the employee told us.
Project Baltimore found the initial report cards showed 13 students failing a total of 18 classes. The timestamp tells us the first versions were printed on November 11, which is after the quarter ended and final grades were submitted. But nineteen days later, on the 30th, the report cards were printed again. This time, every single failing grade was changed to 60. In some cases, the course names weren’t even re-entered, and comments meant to alert parents of their child’s poor performance were deleted.
We asked our source if the students could have done extra work to improve their grades.
“Once a report card is generated, that means that’s the end of the quarter,” the school employee told us. “There would have been no further credit given because the first quarter had already ended.”
As Fox45 dug deeper into the report cards, we found students who were absent or late to school nearly 40 days during the quarter. Two of these students failed six courses total, and every F was changed to 60.
“The only person that would have the authority to do that is one of the administrators. The principal, assistant principal, or someone who the principal has given authority,” explained the district employee.
Project Baltimore reached out to Calverton’s Principal Martia Cooper, who was principal at the time of the alleged grade changing. She did not return multiple phone calls and emails. Instead, we were directed to City Schools administrators, who declined our offer to meet to review the report cards. But over the summer, Project Baltimore did sit down with City Schools Chief Academic Officer, Sean Conley, to discuss alleged grade changing at NACA II in northeast Baltimore.
“Here at city schools, our number one priority is student achievement. Therefore, the validity of student data and grades are of the utmost importance to us,” Conley told us during that interview.
North Avenue has opened an investigation into the allegations at NACA II. Attorneys for the school’s operator and then-principal have denied any wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, our source says grade changing continues to hurt the students who need extra help. If a grade is changed from an F to a D, that help never arrives because parents think their child is passing.
“It’s a psychological ploy for the parents. A bait and switch, if you will,” said the employee - adding that changing failing grades to passing masks problems. The students who need extra help, never get it.
Our source, based on personal experience in the school system, also believes administrators at North Avenue know grades are being changed but look the other way, saying “I don’t think they care to watch.”