After Computer Problems, Los Angeles to Review All Senior Transcripts


The Los Angeles Unified School District's My Integrated Student Information System (MiSiS) is producing errors on student transcripts right as they need them to apply to college.

LAUSD has ordered that every high school senior's transcript be reviewed and has called for counselors and administrators be present to ensure that computerized student data system records will not affect students' chances to graduate or apply for college, writes Howard Blume of the Los Angeles Times. At this time, it is unclear how many of Los Angeles Unified School District's almost 38,000 seniors are affected.

"As superintendent, I take full responsibility for ensuring that our systems are functioning correctly in support of students," Supt. Ramon C. Cortines said in a statement.

Cortines came out of retirement last week after John Deasy's departure to take on the position he once held.

Central and regional office staff is being sent to the 103 high schools in the district so that counselors can focus on the records problem. The transcript reviews will necessitate hiring 25 to 50 retired counselors and administrators at an approximate cost of $15,000 to $25,000 a day.

The faulty data system launched in August has resulted in some students lacking necessary courses or being assigned to classes they do not need — and sometimes both. The computer system also produced errors in seniors' transcripts as college application deadlines loom.

Even though staff has attempted to keep all students on an even keel, there have still been problems. One student's middle school math class grades were listed as a C and D, although she earned an A. Another senior's record was missing credits for classes he had taken in ninth grade.

The first major application deadline for many colleges is November 1, but the student data system, has wreaked havoc with student records and has resulted in Cortines' predecessor, John Deasy, to resign under pressure Oct.15. He was criticized for his handling of the records system, as well as another technology project involving iPad distribution to students, teachers, and administrators. The administrators' and teachers' unions have faulted L.A. Unified for switching to the new system without adequate preparation.

Over the weekend, tech experts spent hours trying to determine the root of the flaws showing up in transcripts. Los Angeles Daily News reporter Thomas Himes writes that there is no guarantee that the district will be able to make sure that seniors' records are correct in time to meet deadlines for college and university scholarship programs.

Also, summer courses taken by upcoming seniors will not be displayed in the data, and counselors and teachers are worried that the extra helpers will not be able to tell if a transcript is complete or not.

"If after the Nov. 1 deadline we start seeing issues, we will follow up and submit a corrective transcript," Matt Hill, LAUSD's chief strategist said. "But the reason we're doing this manual audit is to try to avoid that. Until we've done that, I can't answer 100 percent there will be no issues; we have to do this work this week.

Earlier this school year, MiSiS caused major problems with class scheduling, according to NPR-KPCC. Now the district has to pay $3.6 million to purchase updated computers that are capable of supporting the data system. Another $1.1 million will be used to fix problems at Jefferson High, where "the issues were so severe that a judge said they violated students' rights."

Board member Tamar Galatzan says that the long-term fate of the data system is uncertain, but if it is fixable, the board will deal with that when they get to it.

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