After state audits show excessive student absences, PGCPS relaxes attendance policy

Prince George's County Public Schools has relaxed its attendance policy after two state audits found students were struggling to come to class.

The most recent audit, released earlier this month, showed 60 percent of 2018 graduates in a sample group had excessive absences in a required course.

Interim Prince George's County Public Schools CEO Monica Goldson acknowledges that those students should not have graduated under the attendance policy that existed at the time, which stated that after 10 absences in a yearlong course, a student would fail the course.

Goldson has since changed the policy to say that a student with an unexcused absence will receive a "0" for work done that day.

Goldson said she had a realization after reviewing attendance policies in other Maryland school systems.

"So what we found is, after we researched all of the local education agencies across the state of Maryland, we were just one of eight that actually connected grades with student attendance," she said.

It's true that the penalty for racking up absences just depends on where you live. The state superintendent in Maryland asked every school district a series of questions about grading policies, including: "Is attendance a factor in grading?"

Responses show that in some school system, showing up for class has no impact on grades or graduation.

Through an open records request, FOX 5 found that in Charles County Public Schools, a school district with a 95 percent graduation rate, some graduates missed a third of the school year unexcused.

Since October, FOX 5 has been trying to speak Maryland State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon about attendance issues across the state, but she has declined to speak. Dr. Salmon has refused every interview attempt by FOX 5's Lindsay Watts for over a year.

FOX 5's previous coverage on the Prince George's County grade-fixing investigation:

Prince George's County Public Schools largely pleased with audit results

Interim PGCPS CEO Dr. Monica Goldson promises accountability, transparency

School board approves $800K severance deal for PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell

New details revealed on 2nd state graduation audit to be conducted on Prince George's Co. schools

Maryland Gov. Hogan: 2nd state audit of PGCPS could look into wrongdoing, broken laws

PGCPS not monitoring data of students on track to graduate this school year

EXCLUSIVE: Fired PGCPS guidance counselor believes he was made a scapegoat for grade-fixing scandal

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan calls on Rushern Baker to fire PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell

Maryland State Board of Education to implement full-time employee to monitor PGCPS

PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell meets with Md. State Board of Education to discuss grade-fixing audit

Prince George's County school board members say emails show pressure to graduate students

Staff changes made at DuVal High School amid PGCPS grade-fixing probe

Rushern Baker, Prince George's County school leaders face tough questioning from Maryland lawmakers

Prince George's Co. Public Schools performed internal audit on student records, documents show

Hogan on grade-fixing probe: Prince George's County and PGCPS have 'refused to take it seriously'

Public weighs in on Prince George's County Public Schools grade-fixing allegations

Prince George's school board chair seeks whistleblower info from board members in grade-fixing audit

Prince George's Co. grade-fixing report says 5 pct of students in sample shouldn't have graduated

Final report for PGCPS grade-fixing probe submitted to Maryland State Board of Education

Whistleblower says employees worked to change students' records before grade-fixing investigation began

Maryland State Department of Education seeks info from public for PGCPS graduation rate probe

Investigation into allegations of fraud, grade-fixing in PGCPS to begin 'immediately'

State Board of Education votes to launch Prince George's County Public Schools grade-fixing probe

Gov. Larry Hogan calls for state investigation into alleged corruption in PGCPS

Md. Gov. Hogan explains why he requested probe on grade fixing allegations against PGCPS

PGCPS board members claim graduation rate 'fraudulently' elevated, call for state investigation

Staff members speak out about pressure from Prince George's Co. Public Schools to graduate students

State investigated grade changing in Prince George's County Public Schools earlier this year

Maxwell: PGCPS grade fixing allegations 'completely and utterly false'

Prince George's County schools CEO denies any fraudulent effort to inflate graduation rate

Rushern Baker says he stands by PGCPS Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell

Prince George's County NAACP asks county executive to not renew contract of Dr. Kevin Maxwell

Prince George's County Public Schools CEO meets with Md. lawmakers about concerning allegations

Prince George's Del. Walker hopes grade fixing allegations are false, but there's a lot of smoke

Sen. Muse condemns Prince George's County alleged grade fixing