Houston ISD Investigators Confirm Grades Changed at Westbury High

An investigation into grading at Westbury High School (go Huskies!) has determined that the Westbury principal (unidentified in the documents but listed on the Houston ISD website as Jason Catchings) ordered up grade changes (raising them) for 26 kids in one classroom at the school.

Although a substitute teacher had handed out failing grades, the principal told the staff to enter a final grade of "80" for the students. HISD undertook the investigation, handled by its Office of Internal Audit, after Gerry Monroe, the executive director of the United Urban Alumni Association met with some school board members (unnamed) and HISD staff on April 23 claiming that there had been grade fixing.

The teacher produced a handwritten note saying that "All students grade [sic] should be 80 and above. Change grade to 80 if grade is below 80."

According to the investigator's report, "The Principal informed the Office of Internal Audit that 80s were assigned to failing students as there was no Certified Teacher of Record who could confirm the Associate Teacher's grades. The Principal stated he assigned the grades in question as he did not believe students should be penalized as a result of the matter." 

A check of the substitute teacher's electronic grade book matched the handwritten grades on the students' work. 

Next up: the HISD police department will review "to determine if any criminal implications exist." Meanwhile, there won't be any checks at any other HISD schools — hey school is almost over for the year — while they work up a second report "to address district wide controls regarding the integrity of the grading process."

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Margaret Downing is the editor-in-chief who oversees the Houston Press newsroom and its online publication. She frequently writes on a wide range of subjects.
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