More than two dozen Gadsden High School seniors will not graduate after being accused of changing grades.
A total of 55 students used an online computer for course work and changed their grades from February through April, according to a Gadsden High School spokesperson. The students gained access to codes that allowed them to change the grade of their work on the software called Edgenuity.
A school counselor reportedly notified administrators of the discrepancies in grades in April.
The District spokesperson says the administration immediately initiated a thorough investigation and that Edgenuity logs all activities on each account and provides a date and time stamp of the activity performed.
“When we found these discrepancies, we proceeded quickly but with caution because we wanted to make sure we were on solid ground,” Superintendent Travis Dempsey said.
The District says 456 grades were altered.
According to the District, each person who uses Edgenuity has a unique access code. Students and teachers have access codes that allow different levels of access. The students allegedly used an access code normally assigned to a teacher which enabled the grade changes in various courses. The District spokesperson says the same access code was used by all the students to change their grades.
Of the 55 students involved, five have been suspended. 29 of the accused students are seniors.
The other 26 students are either in 10th or 11th grade.
“Students must realize that their actions have consequences,” Dempsey said. “But we also want to give them an opportunity to correct their actions and do the work properly so that those who are seniors can qualify for their diplomas in the summer, and those underclassmen can correctly finish the courses they undertook on Edgenuity.”
According to the District spokesperson, the seniors who changed their grades cannot graduate because the credit that might have been needed for graduation is now invalid. The remaining students will be allowed to correct the work in summer school.
KTSM reached out to the software company Edgenuity for comment and was told the system was not hacked. A representative for the company says the discrepancies were tracked through IP addresses where it was discovered that a teacher’s personal code had been used.
The company says consequences for anyone who jeopardizes academic integrity in a digital age should be severe.
Edgenuity also reminds the public to be extra careful of how they handle their passwords in the work and personal life.