Faking the Grade: DCPS gave out $8 million in bonuses despite grade inflation


Data exclusively obtained by the ABC7 I-Team show DCPS gave a total of $8,755,975 in IMPACTplus bonuses to teachers and administrators since 2014.

An Office of State Superintendent-commissioned audit, states an average of 34 percent of students graduated last year in violation of DCPS attendance policy requiring students to be present. As first reported by the I-Team last week, only 42 percent of high school seniors are currently “on track” to graduate this year.

Three schools graduated a majority of their high school seniors in violation of attendance policy, yet still handed out large bonuses since 2014:

- Anacostia High School: $651,000

- Ballou High School: $569,000

- Luke Moore High School: $134,000

Teachers are eligible for up to $25,000 annual bonuses under the IMPACTplus system. Eligibility depends on their ability to increase student grades. An investigation by the ABC7 I-Team and the State Superintendent indicated student received grades that should have been impossible to achieve based on exceeding the allowed amount of absences.

RELATED: All of our Faking The Grade coverage

When asked in January about the bonuses, State Superintendent Hanseul Kang replied in reference to their audit, “The scope of the investigation did not allow for looking into every single teacher's records, but they [auditing firm Marsal & Alvarez] did not find any pattern or any broad indication that teachers received bonuses based on the policy violations.”

However, an ABC7 I-Team analysis of the numbers indicates that schools with higher percentages of graduating students in violation of the attendance policy did receive more bonus money than those which had lower percentages of passing students in violation of attendance policy.

The DC Attorney General’s Office says they are looking into whether they would possibly be involved in any effort to recover bonus payments. Questions to the Office of the DC Mayor, State Superintendent and Washington Teachers Union remain unanswered.

To see how much bonus money was given these past three years broken down by high school, look below:

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