There was one big question that stuck in my mind after we found out that San Diego Unified had corrected grades for more than a dozen students at the Met, a small high school wracked by a long saga over whether it had improperly changed grades.

Because the school district undertook three different investigations that took nearly two years, most of the impacted students had already graduated.

Area Superintendent Mike Price, who oversees the Met, said the grade corrections didn’t cause a big change in students’ grade point averages. But whether the difference is big or small, what does a college do if a student gets in with one set of grades and then later finds out that the grades aren’t correct?

I posed the question to the University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University. (Just to be clear, I don’t know if any of the Met students whose grades were corrected went to those specific schools, but I wanted to know how, theoretically, the colleges would handle this kind of situation.)

Mae Brown, assistant vice chancellor and director of admissions at UCSD, said the university would gather up all the documentation it could about what had happened and why, then submit it their judicial affairs office. The dean of students and college provost would help review.

“We would expect to see fairly careful documentation from the school indicating why the changes occurred,” Brown said. If the school is at fault, “the student may be held harmless.”

But if a student were to blame, for example, by altering their own school transcripts before submitting them, a student could face sanctions ranging from being suspended for a term to being expelled.

Greg Block, a spokesman for SDSU, said it might hinge on how long the student was enrolled. If a grade change was discovered during the first semester that a student enrolled, they would ask for a letter from the former teacher justifying the grade change. “Based on that letter, the student may or may not be allowed to begin or continue enrollment at SDSU,” Block wrote in an email.

But if a student had been attending SDSU for “some time” and was doing well, Block said they probably wouldn’t rescind their admission. “Each case would be evaluated on its individual merit,” he wrote.

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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