Acts 820 and 1573 of the 86th General Assembly of 2007 amended Arkansas Code § 6-80-107 regarding electronic transcripts. The amendments clarified that the electronic transcript requirement only applied to public schools and that the method of transmitting as well as formatting the transcripts would be a cooperative effort between the Department of Higher Education and the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE). The two primary purposes of requiring a uniform method of formatting and transmitting electronic transcripts are to determine student eligibility for financial aid and to correctly enroll and place students transferring between public schools.
In order to determine financial aid, districts must use the grading scale mandated in Arkansas Code § 6-15-902 and the Arkansas Department of Education Rule Governing Uniform Grading Scales for Public Schools that was adopted in compliance with the legislation.
The Arkansas Department of Education received a longitudinal data grant from the U.S. Department of Education, and one part of the grant allowed the ADE to contract with Triand Inc. to provide an electronic transcript system. The ADE has worked with the Department of Higher Education to implement the transcript system. Public school districts in the State already have access to the system and most have participated in training regarding the use of the system. Using this electronic transcript system is free to the district, and the information included in the transcript will not necessitate the schools to enter any additional information into the APSCN system.
The following statements may help clarify the requirements regarding the use of the transcript system.
1. All public schools in the State are to use the Triand electronic transcript system. When a student transfers from a public school in Arkansas and enrolls into a new school, the school where the student was previously enrolled will be sent an email notifying that school that the student has transferred. The school “losing” the student must remove the student from its enrollment with an effective date no later than the day following the date of the email.
2. By January 1, 2008, all public high schools must use the electronic transcript system when submitting transcripts to the Department of Higher Education for scholarship programs. It is imperative that the transcripts include the standard state-approved course numbers and course titles.
3. The ADE Uniform Grading Scale rule must be used when assigning grades, weighted credit, and for determining grade point average. Class Rank for the electronic transcript purpose will be determined by using the uniform grading scale and grade average. Therefore, only “regular courses” may be counted when determining grade point average. Regular courses are those courses whose state course code number begins with a four, five, or six.
4. Grade Point Average (GPA) and Class Rank will both be displayed on the electronic transcript. Since GPA is transmitted through APSCN in cycle seven, in order for both systems to be uniform the above method of calculating grades and grade point average must be used. Schools may use other methods for calculating GPA and Class Rank for internal purposes such as determining class valedictorian. However, school districts using Pentamation’s StudentPlus software must specify which GPA and Rank Type to pull. Schools that are not using Pentamation’s StudentPlus software must configure the systems to ensure that the GPA and Class Rank in the electronic transcript follows the mandated uniform grading scale.