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Performance Audit of the School Report Card Program

Receives AOPTA Award for Six-Month Period - Ended June 30, 2008

Scott Strong, Deputy Auditor General, is pleased to announce that the performance audit of the School Report Card Program, Michigan Department of Education (MDE), is the winner of the Audit Operations Project Team Award (AOPTA) for the six-month period ended June 30, 2008. The audit team included Cheryl Baker, supervisor; team members Jim Berridge, Jason Werner, Andy Mitchell, and former employee Tara Keener; Therese Regner, Audit Division Administrator; and Gerry Schwandt, Audit Manager.

The AOPTA was established in 1992 and is awarded every six months to recognize exceptional efforts of the project teams in the Bureau of Audit Operations.

The School Report Card Program, Education YES! – A Yardstick for Excellent Schools, and adequate yearly progress (AYP) provide performance measurement information for schools, parents, and the public. Accurate information is essential to assist schools in making improvements in student achievement and to assist parents in making decisions on where children should attend school. Miscalculations and inaccurate assessments of the performance of schools and school districts impact federal, State, and local level efforts to monitor schools and make improvements.

The audit crew overcame difficulties that resulted from MDE’s limited agency personnel, lack of documentation, and the complexity of the calculations for the School Report Card grades issued for over 3,500 schools. The audit crew developed several exhibits to provide the readers with information on the complex assessment calculations taken from 7 different data sources. Based on our audit preliminary findings, MDE immediately made several computer programming changes, which resulted in the expansion of the audit scope by an additional year to determine if MDE corrective actions were successful.

The report included 5 material findings and 7 reportable conditions. The agency took immediate action on many of the findings to prevent future calculation errors. In addition, MDE was provided additional State and federal funds to hire staff to work on the School Report Card process, databases, and Statewide tests development.

In recognition of their selection, the audit team members will be Mr. McTavish’s guests for lunch, will have a letter of commendation placed in their personnel and evaluation files, and will have their names engraved on the AOPTA plaque.

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