As the state’s designated agency to report student performance in Georgia’s public schools via the Report Card, it is critical that GOSA be assured of the accuracy of the data reported by schools and LEAs and allowed to explore the effectiveness of education initiatives in improving student achievement.
An audit performed by GOSA generally follows a predictable procedure as described below.
A desktop audit is the first response to the detection of irregularities in data or a pattern of data reported by a public school or LEA in Georgia:
The appropriate school official is contacted and informed that an irregularity has been found and must be investigated;
GOSA requests the official to perform an examination of the identified school’s records; and
The official is then asked to complete an online GOSA Inquiry Form.
In the event that GOSA concludes the official’s response on the GOSA Inquiry Form is not substantial enough to explain the data irregularities, an on-site audit is performed using the following guidelines:
An auditor from GOSA visits the school or LEA to review its records or testing procedures. The auditor may also conduct personnel and student interviews, employee surveys, and parent surveys as necessary to determine the cause(s) of possible data irregularities or noncompliance;
In the event the auditor finds financial irregularities in the course of the academic audit, the auditor refers the matter to the Georgia Department of Audits or other agencies as appropriate for further review, and
Audit findings and recommendations are summarized in a draft report and made available to the appropriate LEA personnel, which will have 30 days to review and make written comment to GOSA’s executive director.
In the case of a general compliance audit in which schools are chosen at random, a validation review is often not necessary, and the GOSA auditor proceeds directly to an on-site audit.
Once GOSA receives written comment from the audited school or LEA regarding the draft audit report, it carefully considers which of those comments, if any, should be included in the final report. At a minimum, the school or LEA comments are included as an appendix document to the final report.
The audit process formally concludes when GOSA presents its findings and recommendations to the appropriate state-level education agency. A copy of the final report is shared with the local board of education (if applicable), the superintendent, and the affected school's principal.