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San Diego Unified Superintendent Bill Kowba said tonight that he will ask County Superintendent Randolph Ward to find an expert to examine the unique curriculum at the Met, an alternative high school accused of changing grades.

School district auditors found that the Met had changed grades earlier this year, but school staffers said their special “Big Picture” philosophy allowed them to alter grades over time. The idea is that a student has a chance to improve on their work — and their grades — over time. Internal San Diego Unified auditors said that still didn’t allow the Met to change grades given by other schools, as they found it had done.

Complaints from Met employees about how the grade changing audit was done, including concerns that auditors had not adequately interviewed staff, led the school district to investigate its own auditors. That has stopped the San Diego Unified school board from taking action on the audit at all.

Kowba said he hoped that an outside expert could help clarify how the “Big Picture” philosophy, used elsewhere in the country, gels with California rules. “Big Picture is a nationally known model,” Kowba said. “But I’m not sure it’s clear cut in the state of California. We need to get additional opinions.”

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at emily.alpert@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter: twitter.com/emilyschoolsyou.

Emily Alpert

Emily Alpert was formerly the education reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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