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Further review: data-scrubbing case continues

The Ohio Department of Education is taking additional steps in the data-scrubbing case involving Cincinnati Public Schools and six other districts around Ohio.  The department announced Monday it will re-run Ohio Report Card information on the seven districts, which also include Winton Woods, and is referring the matter to its Office of Professional Conduct.

Auditor Dave Yost investigated the districts last year as he looked into scrubbing, or removing poor-performing students from the rolls to improve performance rankings.  

CPS issued the following statement:

Cincinnati Public Schools today was informed that the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) is taking two additional steps in its ongoing review of attendance reporting for 2010-11 at high-mobility schools. ODE announced that it will re-run Ohio Report Card information for Cincinnati Public Schools and six other districts, and that it is referring the matter to its Office of Professional Conduct for further review. CPS welcomes the re-calculation of the report card data, because our own investigation indicates that the disputed data – involving enrollment history for about 134 of the district’s 33,000 students – would have made no difference in the district’s overall rating. Our internal investigation also found no evidence of deliberate manipulation of data by any CPS employee. The ODE review stems from a series of reports by the Ohio Auditors Office centering on attendance reporting in the 2010-11 school year and a continuation of the investigation by the Ohio Department of Education beginning last summer. CPS has cooperated fully with both the auditor’s office and ODE in these reviews. CPS has been fully transparent and open about attendance reporting practices, published on our Website. Much of the focus of the state criticism centered on reporting practices for intra-district breaks in enrollment during which a student enrolled in one district school subsequently enrolled in another district school, sometimes weeks or months after withdrawing from the original school. Following the auditors’ report, CPS changed intra-district enrollment reporting practices to be consistent with the auditors’ findings. We now report students being continuously enrolled – even when they are not in attendance at any district school for weeks or months – once they re-enroll at another CPS school. We continue to believe that the larger issue highlighted by these reviews is that of excessive mobility, which is highest in the state’s high-poverty schools and districts and has a negative impact on academic achievement. Cincinnati Public Schools will continue to work with our partners to stabilize families, which we believe merits a community and state focus as well.