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607 Records Illegally Altered at Brea Olinda

August 16, 1994|MIMI KO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

BREA — An independent auditor told the Brea Olinda Unified School Board on Monday that she had found 607 instances of illegal transcript tampering, including 136 failing grades that were not counted in grade-point averages, and more than 30 transcripts that still contain credits or grades never earned.

Rachael Alcorn, who was hired to audit Brea Olinda High School's student transcripts because of a massive grade-changing scandal revealed this spring, reported Monday night that while some failing grades were computed into students' grade-point averages, 136 were not.

"Some students were really penalized" and others weren't, trustee Lynn Doucher said.

In addition, 155 traditional grades were changed to simple pass notations last fall, Alcorn said.

Top administrators have insisted for months that all errors were corrected as soon as they were discovered. But Alcorn told the board Monday that transcripts of 10 members of the class of 1994, 18 members of the class of 1995 and four students in the class of 1996 still contain grades and course titles changed illegally.

Officials said a registrar at the high school began changing those 32 transcripts on Monday.

Alcorn, who is the registrar at Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton, said she did not find any instance where eligibility to play on athletic teams was affected.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday August 17, 1994 Orange County Edition Part A Page 3 Column 4 Metro Desk 2 inches; 53 words Type of Material: Correction
Grade changes--An independent auditor who reviewed student transcripts amid a grade-changing scandal at Brea Olinda High School has found that 135 failing grades were calculated into the grade-point averages of students who later repeated those classes. A story Tuesday incorrectly reported that those failing grades were not counted in calculating the students' GPAs.

She suggested that the district continue investigating student transcripts as far back as the 1988-89 academic year.

Board members said they would consider it, but Doucher said she was concerned that students could suffer from the investigation.

"Students did nothing wrong here," she said. "There should be no shadow cast on any student."

Another investigator, attorney Ronald D. Wenkart of the Orange County Department of Education, is interviewing current and former district employees to find out who changed the grades and why.

He told the board he has interviewed eight former and current employees and will interview 17 more before he issues a report to the board by Sept. 12.

District officials previously blamed former counselors for altering student transcripts by changing grades and course titles hundreds of times in an effort to boost grade-point averages and help students get into college.

Alcorn confirmed that 287 of last year's students were affected by transcript tampering. They included 168 seniors, 77 juniors, 40 sophomores and two first-year students.

The school board unanimously voted Monday night for a new policy that will prohibit the use of pass notations in any classes except photography, performing arts, journalism, yearbook, English as a Second Language, student government and physical education.

The policy also will prohibit students from dropping courses after the fourth week of class without a "WF" notation, meaning withdraw-fail, entered in their transcripts.

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