Crummy L.A. Schools Computer System Now Messing up Transcripts for College

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines took all the responsibility this week for computer problems that are scrambling the transcripts of graduating seniors, but gets none of the blame, since he just took over for the embattled John Deasy, who resigned two weeks ago.

Cortines acknowledged “problems that have been identified” with My Integrated Student Information System (MiSiS) but did not actually identify them in his statement (pdf) or indicate how widespread they were. The new computer system has been blamed for screwing up, in some fashion, some aspect of everything it was designed to manage: “attendance, scheduling, grades, counseling, discipline, health, A-G course completion, and a great deal more.”

Among the “great deal more” are transcripts that seniors need for college applications.

MiSiS has issues, and among the 197 systemic problems listed on its website are 11 involving those precious school records. Complaints include: “Unable to enter Transcript Courses for any year except 2014-2015 SY at Roosevelt School of Law and Government,” “The Transcript Report shows dropped classes listed under Courses in Progress” and “Unable to enter a course in transcript record at Narbonne SH Math/Science Magnet.”

LAUSD has made November 1 the deadline to straighten out the mess. California State University and the University of California want applications filed by November 30, but many schools require applications in October and early November.

L.A. Unified board member Steve Zimmer told KPCC he and other officials don’t know how widespread the problem is. He said the problems included missing data from classes taken at community colleges and summer school. The district is setting up phone hotlines and online contacts to report suspected transcript errors.

Transcripts cannot be viewed online but can be requested from LAUSD. However, the district records request website warns anxious students and parents to, “Please allow 30 business days to process student record orders.” The site also cautions people requesting student records not to screw up: “All requests will be checked for accuracy. Any inaccurate information may result in your record not being processed.”

MiSiS has been a problem since school started this fall. Students were assigned to wrong classes or not registered at all, while others stood in long lines for answers or were shuffled off to the auditorium. Schedules and records were lost.

The 197 MiSiS known issues listed on the district website include: master scheduling (36), enrollment (35), attendance (24), grades (17), system administration (13), discipline (4), counseling (2) and special education (1).

The LAUSD FAQ concerning the MiSiS transcript problem responds to its own question about what will happen if the district fails to straighten things out before college application deadlines with, “It’s not clear.” The district does not elaborate.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

LA Unified Acknowledges Mistakes in Student Transcripts as College Deadlines Loom (by Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC)

L.A. School Officials Order Review of Every Senior's Transcript (by Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times)

L.A. Schools Struggle to Open Year with Sputtering New Computer System (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

L.A. Unified Committed to Correcting Problems with Student Records (Los Angeles Unified School District)

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