Glitch with grades: software error causes some students to get incorrect end-of-term grades

Glitch with grades: software error causes some students to get incorrect end-of-term grades

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT/AP) - A software error caused some students around the state to receive incorrect end-of-term grades this school year and the impact to some students in Southeastern North Carolina is unknown.

The Department of Public Instruction said it has been advising districts since December about the software problem. A department news release said the error comes from a change this school year in grade calculation methods in PowerSchool software.

The department said the software improperly rounded final grade averages ending with the decimals .3, .4 or .5.

The error could have affected as many as 109 school districts and 59 charter schools. Department spokesman Drew Elliott said the software is available to all public schools but not every district uses it for grade calculation.

Pender, Columbus and Bladen County Schools reported no impact from the error in their districts.

A statement from Whiteville City Schools reads, “Yes, we utilize PowerSchool Power teacher pro. At this time, we do not have an actual number of students impacted in Whiteville City Schools. However, the impact appears to be very isolated and minimal to a system of our size as compared to larger districts. Our district personnel is awaiting guidance from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction before we proceed with any necessary changes. At this time, we will deliver communication to our stakeholders via automated callout or letter format. At Whiteville City Schools, we are under the opinion any discrepancies in our system will impact a very low number of students.”

School leaders with New Hanover and Brunswick County Schools took part in a webinar this afternoon to learn more about the error.

“We’ll continue looking at all information provided by DPI to determine the impact, if any, on our students,” said Daniel Seamans, spokesperson for New Hanover County Schools. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding while we investigate the issue.”

A spokesperson from New Hanover County Schools said the district still needs time to review the situation.

“At this point, the impact to NHCS' data isn't clear,” said Valita Quattlebaum. “Once we're able to fully determine whether this has impacted our system and to what extent, then we can provide more information about it.”

PowerSchool didn’t immediately respond to an email from the Associated Press asking if the problem has affected other states.

Copyright 2019 WECT. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.