General Counsel Brad Clark said the Oklahoma State Department of Education received information about allegations of grade-tampering at Chickasha Public Schools in August. They conducted an onsite review and investigation and their investigation has continued to this day, he added.
Recently, the department received additional information Clark said solidified the need for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) to assist.
That additional information includes a phone call from a parent in early February, according to an State Department of Education report. She said her daughter attends Chickasha High School, participating in the Self-Paced Learning Center program.
According to the report she said her daughter was "flying through the curriculum, is on track to graduate a full year early, and that her daughter's teacher username and password was [sic] compromised such that her daughter (and perhaps others) were using this to cheat through the curriculum."
The report said the mother's greatest concern was that her daughter was "not learning anything."
The Department of Education contacted the software company for login times, IP addresses, and grade override reports.
Reports revealed roughly 5,500 grades and more than 18,000 individual assignment grades were changed over a four month period.
Significant discrepancies were also reportedly discovered in the number of times teachers logged into the system.
“At the end of the day, the integrity in the student records and the academic integrity is paramount,” Clark told News 9. “And if that’s not occurring then that’s where we have strong concerns.”
Chickasha Public Schools released a statement Tuesday evening:
School officials learned, through OSDE’s Tuesday press release, of State Superintendent Hofmeister’s request that OSBI conduct a criminal investigation into grade-tampering. Neither Hofmeister, nor her staff, have been in recent contact with district officials and it is unclear how the State Superintendent reached her conclusions. Nevertheless, District leaders welcome a criminal investigation by OSBI or the Grady County District Attorney to determine whether grade tampering has occurred and whether individuals have obtained access to student records in violation of federal law.
The OSBI will be meeting with the Attorney General later this week to talk about the parameters of the investigation and what criminal code or codes may have been broken.
Other Chickasha parents responded to the news. And among other comments, they insisted staff and teachers of Chickasha Public Schools are not the responsible parties for the reported grade issues.