RPS superintendent apologizes for ‘error’ and ‘confusion’ about graduation projections

RPS graduation rate controversy

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Richmond Public Schools system clarified Tuesday the number of students who may not graduate on time after an issue was found with the way high school credits were handed out.

The school system says 507 seniors are “on track” to meet graduation requirements and graduate on time.

There are 303 seniors listed as “likely June," meaning those students “are currently completing graduation requirements, such as earning a CTE credential.”

Superintendent Jason Kamras provided additional clarification in a series of tweets on Tuesday.

At Monday night’s School Board meeting, the number of “on track” and “likely June” students “were transposed” during a presentation.

“We apologize for this error and any frustration and confusion it has caused,” the school system said Tuesday.

There are 162 students listed as being “Likely Summer” graduates and 118 students who will graduate “likely” in the 2019-2020 school year.

One of the issues impacting the number of students graduating stems from 2015 when Richmond Public Schools announced the school system has been awarding high school credits incorrectly for a number of classes.

According to officials, other errors for this include students taking courses multiple times for credit, courses taken in middle school, inappropriately assigned credits and students taking local courses that shouldn’t have been credited.

The audit has revealed much deeper issues than the transcript itself.

In addition to issues related to the transcript itself, the administration has uncovered other significant gaps including ineffective scheduling and course selection, lack of systematic tracking of progress to graduation and absence of codified business rules that prevent technology from being a reliable tool.

Those issues may have an impact on graduation rates this year.

There are a lack of verified credits required for some diploma types, a lack of CTE credential for standard diplomas and a lack of appropriate coursework.

Officials say inappropriate graduation practices throughout the school system will no longer continue.

According to the report, the system will be instituting a consistent and documented process for properly awarding Locally-Awarded Verified Credits. The school system will no longer allow the preemptive use of the WorkKeys assessment to be used as a substitute for the Reading/Writing SOLs, and they will monitor the changing of diploma type.

In Monday night’s meeting, officials went over ways they are helping as many students as possible including going over each transcript at least eight times to make sure everyone is on track.

They have implemented several other ways to hopefully prevent this from happening again.

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