DODDS investigates Ansbach academic records errors
December 1, 2010
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Defense Department school system officials in Europe are investigating multiple errors in the academic records of current and former Ansbach Middle/High School students.
The errors were discovered during a routine review of the records in October, Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe chief of staff Harvey Gerry said Wednesday.
The mistakes were found in grade and course transcripts — official documents chronicling high-schoolers’ academic performance.
“The magnitude of this thing has become more apparent to us as the year has gone on,” Gerry said. But Gerry said he did not know exactly how many students’ records had errors.
The transcripts are included in college and other tertiary study program applications and assessed by organizations offering academic grants. They are also referenced when a student transfers to another school, Gerry said.
The problem appears to be limited to transcripts from Ansbach, but Gerry said officials probably will look at some other schools’ records to ensure this isn’t a common problem.
Approximately 360 transcripts for students attending the Ansbach school this year will be reviewed along with records from the last academic year, Gerry said. The school has transcripts dating back at least five years.
“We are looking at the entire inventory for all the students,” he said. “These are very important documents and we want to make sure that things are accurate.”
The review will also include records for seventh- and eighth-grade students since some middle school courses can count towards high school graduation requirements, he said.
“For the kids moving to another school we have to be sure they reflect the courses that the child has taken,” he said. “We also want to make sure that students moving toward graduation have the courses they are required to take so they qualify for a DOD diploma.”
Bavaria District Superintendent Mike Thompson and former Ansbach High School principal Jennifer Rowland, who now is principal of Patch High School in Stuttgart, have been temporarily reassigned from their regular jobs to provide information to a team of two DODDS officials and a U.S. Army Europe officer investigating the errors, he said. Officials in Thompson’s office on Tuesday referred all questions about the issue to Gerry.
The investigation team “will provide information on the history of this issue, actions that have been taken to date and what their analysis of the problem might be,” Gerry said.
The review will start with seniors’ transcripts, he said.
“We want to make sure that the kids graduating this year have good accurate records so we will start with the 12th grade,” he said. “We want to get this done as quickly as we can because we are coming into the end of the first semester.”
In a Nov. 22 letter to parents, the current Ansbach Middle High School principal, David Carlisle, said DODDS was conducting a review of “record keeping irregularities” but he made no mention of problems with students’ transcripts.
Gerry said officials have yet to contact past students about possible errors in their academic records.
“We haven’t gone down that route but this is part of the inquiry — to determine if there were significant errors and where they were,” he said. “The first thing that we want to do is look at the current students and to understand the extent of the problem. Whether kids from past years are contacted will depend on what we identify. Are these random or systemic errors?”