Edison Grade Change Investigation Results

November 18, 2008 8:00:42 PM PST
After two months, 40 witnesses, and 50 thousand dollars, Fresno Unified's superintendent today revealed the findings of the district's investigation into Edison High School. Superintendent Michael Hanson said Tuesday it was the teacher -- and no one else -- who made the controversial grade change that allowed an Edison student athlete to remain eligible to play football."No factual basis exists to support the teachers claim that he did not give the A," said superintendent Michael Hansen at a press conference. According to Hanson, Edison math teacher Jeff Powell was the only person who could have changed the student in question's grade from an "F" to an "A"... "Absolutely no evidence exists to suggest that anybody other than the teacher changed this grade."

Computer records retrieved from the teacher's laptop showed that on June 6th the student had an "F" in the class ... But according the district's investigation, by June 11th, teacher Jeff Powell had made 52 data entries into his electronic grade book for quizzes, tests and other assignments. The end result of those point additions were enough for the student to get an "A".

The district's investigation shows the teacher also made entries affecting 27 other students. For someone else to have made changes in the grades, they would have needed access to the teacher's password and computer. Powell's laptop was reported stolen, but Hanson said it was stolen months after the grading period was complete.

Hanson also answered allegations that the student in question was absent from class 66 times-- and for that reason, should have failed. "Pursuant to our district policy and administrative regulations, the determination whether to fail a student for excessive absenteeism rests alone with the teacher," said Hanson.

As to the possible motive behind the teacher making a grade change he would later deny ... Hanson has no explanation. "If it was clear and understandable as to the why, we would not have been sitting here for the last two months taking the kind of public flogging that we have, and put our kids at risk and have our staff kind of droop their heads-- we don't know."

Powell was placed on paid administrative leave in October. Hanson says some good has come of all of this. The investigation has prompted the district to make some changes, including improvements in how they support and prepare student athletes to be career-ready graduates. They will also implement board policies on changing student grades and attendance procedures.

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