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PAUSD mislabels student graduation requirements in Paly, Gunn transcripts

Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) erroneously labeled about 200 Paly and Gunn students from the Class of 2018 as having not met A-G graduation requirements, however this mistake did not affect college eligibility, according to district officials.

The A-G graduation requirements are the set of high school courses that students must complete with a grade of C- or higher to be eligible to attend UCs and CSUs. The mislabelling was found in a recent report conducted by PAUSD.

“From our manual review of transcripts, we identified patterns from the student course work that helped us identify why the transcripts were incorrectly identified by the Infinite Campus system as not meeting A-G,” said Miriam Stevenson, PAUSD’s Director of Student Services and one of the report’s authors. “Some courses were miscategorized in Infinite Campus, so the system did not correctly identify them as A-G Courses.”  For example, problems occurred with transcripts that included courses taken outside of PAUSD.

For instance, six courses at Gunn were misidentified in Infinite Campus. While they were approved by the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) as A-G courses, they were not labeled as such in Infinite Campus. According to Stevenson, these courses have been updated and they should not cause problems in the future.

The mislabelled students from Class of 2018 were not listed as not graduated, according to Stevenson.

“This reporting (of mislabelled A-G eligibility) to the state did not affect student applications to UC/CSU schools.”

Christopher Kolar, PAUSD’s Director of Research, Assessment and Evaluation, another author of the report.

The Class of 2018 was the first to have gone through all of high school since the School Board’s revised 2010 graduation requirements were implemented.

According to Stevenson, the report’s original purpose was to review transcripts of 2018 graduates listed as non A-G complete, identify reasons students did not meet those requirements and use that information to find ways to address the problem.

“Our team was tasked to complete a deep analysis of student A-G outcomes in order to identify patterns and opportunities for immediate improvements to our systems and practices,” Stevenson said at a School Board meeting. “We hope that this analysis provides a more complex look at those same things and answers some long unanswered questions.”

PAUSD plans to use the results of this report to make sure records are accurate from now on.

“We’re very excited this is going to change the way that we go into the end of the year for the Class of 2019 because we know … what we didn’t know before. That’s going to give us a chance to have a much more solid set of numbers to work with.”

Christopher Kolar

In terms of next steps, the team that created the report is going to continue to meet and focus on ways that A-G attainment and reporting can be improved, according to Stevenson.

Stevenson said that administrators sharing the data from the report in a clear and detailed way with instructional leaders, counseling departments and student services teams would be powerful.

They “really need to reflect on these patterns to better inform their next steps on how to support all students in achieving A-G or their post-high school plans, whether that be college or career,” Stevenson said. “And I do want to highlight, as a school counselor, that those don’t always align.”

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