Investigators look at test score changes at Flagler College

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- An independent investigation of Flagler College is underway.

A Vice President of Flagler College in St. Augustine allegedly changed test scores and students' grades in order to make the school appear better in national rankings.

Flagler College President William Abare said he learned last week – after an internal investigation -- that Vice President of Enrollment Marc Williar went into the college's computer system and altered ACT and SAT scores and grade point averages of incoming freshmen from fall 2010 to fall 2013.

Once he had enough documentation, Abare said he scheduled a meeting with Williar on February 14th. Abaer said he "confronted him [Williar] with the evidence we had. He admitted, and took full responsibility, sole responsibility for the misreporting of data and offered to resign."

Those altered scores were submitted to various publications including US News and World Report which ranked Flagler College as a tie for number 8 for Best Regional Colleges in the South. Abare said it's unclear if the misreported scores impacted the ranking.

"It's speculation at this point. We don't know exactly how that would've played into the rankings," Abare noted.

First Coast News called Williar for a comment but have not heard from him. The former Vice President of Enrollment told our news partner The St. Augustine Record "I hope any negative feelings would be directed at me, certainly not at the college. I had a lapse in judgment. I would love to go unring the bell, but I can't."

Abare said Williar told him why he did it.

"He indicated when he had calculated the profile in 2010, the profile had taken a drop and he was concerned how that drop would affect the college's rankings and reputation," Abare said.

President Abare said he hopes one man's actions won't harm the school's reputation.

Students agree.

Sophomore Maggie Cowart said the news was shocking and "It really puts a damper on our ratings for the school."

Savanna Munyan, another Flagler College student said, "I think resigning may have been the right thing to do if he did alter test scores."

Cowart added, "I think this will take a while to get our rankings back up because this will definitely drop a lot of things, but I think eventually things will get better. Just takes time."

Williar resigned Friday.

----To connect with Jessica Clark, follow her on Twitter at @JessicaFCN or Like her on Facebook.


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