Bibb County schoolteachers had to correct more than 2,900 grades of middle and high school students — and reissue their report cards from fall semester — after problems with the system’s new student information system, officials said.
About 5 percent of middle school students’ grades and about 5 percent of high school students’ grades were changed because of computer errors, said Cathy Magouyrk, the deputy superintendent of teaching and learning.
Part of the problem, she said, was that teachers weren’t familiar with the new information system, called Infinite Campus. School officials started using the system at the beginning of the school year, and they might not have had enough training on it, she said.
For example, high school teachers calculate a student’s state-mandated End-of-Course Test, taken at the end of a semester, as 15 percent of the student’s final grade. Eighty-five percent of a grade comes from the student’s class coursework.
Magouyrk said Infinite Campus already was programmed to calculate that 15 percent for the End-of-Course Test. Many teachers did not know that, though, and they, too, were keying in the figure and skewing results. Some students were getting slightly lower grades, she said.
There also were problems with grades because some high school students were penalized for excessive unexcused absences when others were not.
In the school system’s code of conduct, if students miss more than four days of unexcused absences, their grade is supposed to drop to a 69. A 70 or above is considered passing.
“We discovered in the grading process with Infinite Campus (that) teachers weren’t shown how to change grades to an F,” Magouryk said. “Some high schools were doing it and some weren’t.”
Report cards already had been issued when school officials realized what had happened.
“It was not fair for some (students at schools) to fail and some to pass, so we restored the original grades” of those who had been penalized for absences, she said. “Every child has to be treated equally.”
The grading errors caused delays in some report cards as well as for high school transcripts for those seniors applying for colleges. Each high school in Bibb was instructed to go back and review students’ grades to make the necessary changes. Students’ grade calculations should now be correct, she said.
Three different letters from the school system went out to parents in January explaining the grading problems.
Westside High School principal Laura Perkins said her school did not have grading problems, but she was aware of the “mix-up” at other schools.
“That’s just part of new technology, working out all the kinks,” Perkins said.
The Bibb County school system decided to buy Infinite Campus in early 2009 for $310,000. The data system keeps track of student names, their addresses and test scores, and it lets a classroom teacher log in and enter students’ grades.
The previous student data program the school system had used for seven years, called SASI, was being discontinued by its maker, and it did not store grades or chart attendance.
Infinite Campus was launched this past August, and it has had glitches.
At the beginning of the 2009-10 school year, the student information system had registration problems. Some students were being assigned to the wrong middle school for the start of the year, or they weren’t shown as being registered in the computer system at all.
Training for teachers on how to use the information system also was cut short in August because of mandated teacher furloughs, but Infinite Campus program officials have since come to Macon to help educators with additional training.
“We are in an implementation curve” with the new system, Magouyrk said. “We checked progress, made adjustments and were transparent in our communication with parents and students.”
To contact writer Julie Hubbard, call 744-4331.