Doctored grades of high school athletes are the center of a continuing investigation by Chicago Public Schools.

Four student athletes’ grades were inflated by school employees before the students’ transcripts were sent to colleges, a report by the Chicago Board of Education’s Office of the Inspector General shows.

“If we find that people did the wrong thing regarding grades, we will take very severe disciplinary action,” said Chicago Public Schools spokesman Mike Vaughn, adding that the school system is conducting its own investigation into the matter.

The report’s initial finding were released early this spring.

Staff at the unidentified high school sent transcripts fraudulently misrepresenting the students’ grades in one class, thereby raising their cumulative grade point averages. One month later, the grades were changed back to their original form, but universities were unaware until the inspector general’s investigation began.

The report, issued in December 2008, also showed that high school staff lost the original permanent records for three of the four athletes. Investigators have been unable to locate the records.

Calvin Davis, Chicago Public Schools director of sports administration, said the inspector general contacted his office about the allegations, but his role in the investigation was only to share information within the administration.

Inspector General Jim Sullivan said his office was unable to identify the staff member or members responsible. He explained that while the investigation revealed the usernames that logged in to make the changes, passwords for the grade-keeping system were not secure, and were sometimes shared or changed.

The investigation into this high school also revealed an instance in which a student athlete received a D that was changed almost one year later – without supporting documentation – to an A.

In his report, the inspector general recommended disciplinary action against staff members and suggested routine audits of senior transcripts in the future. Davis said he believed these safeguards should already be in place at many schools.

-Kate Hollencamp, Medill News Service