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Published: Thursday, 7/26/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

State auditor starts probe into Ohio Department of Education over school test, attendance reports

BLADE STAFF

The investigation into possible manipulation of test scores at Ohio schools has moved statewide, with the Ohio's Auditor's Office now questioning what, if any, role the Ohio Department of Education had in the changes.

State Auditor Dave Yost sent a letter today to the Ohio Board of Education, asking for information related to attendance report manipulation at Columbus City Schools, Toledo Public Schools, and Lockland Local Schools. School officials appeared to have manipulated data at those districts to remove scores for students who were chronically truant, improving their attendance rates and test scores.

Reports of the manipulation originated in Columbus, but has expanded to other schools. Mr. Yost said he is expanding a review of the manipulation statewide, he wrote, including possible involved by state education agency.

"In short, it appears that attendance report rigging is not a localized problem with Columbus Public Schools, but that it may be more systemic," Mr. Yost wrote, "and that raises the question of what role ODE played during the time that false reports were made by multiple schools."

He said that the widespread nature raises questions of at least a lack of oversight in the department into test scores.

The Ohio Department of Education released a statement Thursday, saying it believes in the integrity of data.

"When it is misused we want the investigation to go wherever it leads," the statement read. "To that end, we announced yesterday the results of a year-long Ohio Department of Education investigation of the Lockland School District. As always, we welcome the involvement of the State Auditor and will continue our working relationship with them."


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