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Pressure Mounts on School District to Prove It Didn't Cheat on Graduation Rates

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is asking the state board of education to investigate claims that officials in the Prince George's County school district altered grades in order to inflate the district's graduation rate.

The allegation of grade-fixing surfaced at the end of May when four of the county's 14 school board members alleged that the district changed students' grades and credits in an effort to meet state graduation requirements, according to WAMU, an NPR affiliate based in Washington. 

The district has been lauded in recent years for improving its graduation rates.

The school district's CEO, Kevin Maxwell, has denied the allegations and has called them "politically-motivated." Other board members have also denied them.

The four school board members, including the student member, wrote to Gov. Hogan on May 30 calling for an investigation into "widespread systemic corruption" in the Prince George's County public schools—the state's second-largest school system.  According to the letter, which was posted on WAMU's website, the four wrote that there was evidence to back up the claim that "hundreds of students" had graduated from the district even though they had not met graduation requirements.

They alleged that students' grades had been altered and that students were given credit for courses they had not taken and for "student service learning hours" that they had not completed. They alleged that students' records were changed before and after graduation.  

The Washington Post reports that the state looked into an anonymous complaint of grade-fixing in the district earlier this year but did not turn up any evidence of fraud.

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