New report says five grades changed on student's record

Three staff members said to be at fault in alterations

February 05, 2004|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop,SUN STAFF

An expanded report from Howard County education officials, given to Oakland Mills High School staff yesterday, said five grades had been improperly changed on a football player's transcript over the summer to make him "academically eligible to participate in fall sports."

Previous accounts, which resulted in the school having to forfeit its winning varsity football season and a recommendation that Oakland Mills athletic director Ken Hovet be fired, had said that no more than two grades had been changed.

The latest report said three grades were changed for the football player in one course - a quarter grade, a final exam grade and a final class grade - and another two grades were changed in a second course - a quarter grade and a final exam grade.

Grade-change forms were provided for three of the changes, and Principal Marshall Peterson's signature, required for alterations, was missing from all but one form.

The report further concluded that several system policies were violated and that "three Oakland Mills High School staff members are being held responsible" through disciplinary action, though no further details were offered because of employee confidentiality. Hovet has been placed on administrative leave without pay, pending action by the Board of Education.

An earlier report, released last month, said an investigation into the grade-changing had found that the school had 16 academically ineligible students participating in extracurricular activities, though grade-changing was a factor in only one.

Howard County policy requires that students maintain a 2.0 grade point average and have no failing grades in core subjects to participate.

School system spokeswoman Patti Caplan said community questions led to the second report.

"In listening to the concerns of parents and some of the questions that were coming up continually, we felt that it was really important that we try to go back through the [first] report and see if there was any more information we could provide without breaching employee confidentiality," Caplan said.

The full report is available online at the Oakland Mills PTSA Web site: http://myschoolonline .com/folder/0,1872,23653-174822 -26-36433,00.html.

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