TSU administrators dispute claims of grade changing - WSMV News 4

TSU administrators dispute claims of grade changing

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The controversy over grade changing at Tennessee State University is heating up, and it appears the Board of Regents already knew about the practice.

The issue came to a head at a town hall meeting Tuesday after some said students who didn't complete a math course were still given passing grades.

University leaders claim the grades were changed after they cleared up some miscommunication about course requirements, but some faculty don't buy it.

"I would say somebody heard something and spread it," said TSU President Portia Shields.

Now, a state lawmaker is promising to dig deeper to discover exactly what happened, who changed the marks and why.

"We've got two different stories, but only one can be true," said State Sen. Jim Summerville, R-Dickson.

Summerville is chair of the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee, and at his request that group will hold hearings over the grade changes.

"We're going to be thorough. We're going to ask TSU folks to come - faculty, registrar, others - who can show us the records, the internal investigation," Summerville said.

Channel 4 News previously reported about 100 TSU students in two math courses had their grades changed from "incomplete" to "complete" letter grades.

Members of TSU's Association of University Professors complained to the Board of Regents, who then called for the university to investigate.

Shields said she found no wrongdoing. Rather, she said, professors willingly changed the grades after getting new information about course requirements.

She then met with faculty Monday.

"I asked them point blank, 'Did any administrator change these grades?' They said, 'No.' 'Did any administrator ask you to change the grades?' 'No,'" Shields said.

English Professor and Faculty Senate Chair Jane Davis said her faculty colleagues tell a different story.

"The instructors did not authorize the grade change. The administration has the chance to come out and be factual, open and honest," Davis said.

A Senate subcommittee hearing will be held at Legislative Plaza on Aug. 13  at 1 p.m. in Room 12

After the meeting, the group will make a recommendation to the full Higher Education Committee.

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