Archive for Tuesday, August 18, 2009

KU considering changes in admissions standards

August 18, 2009


Teens considering Kansas University, take note: You may face tougher admission requirements than what are in place today.

A new law, approved by the Legislature during the last session, allows the Kansas Board of Regents to adopt different admission standards for regents universities.

The measure was sought by KU, where officials say the current admission requirements are neither stringent nor comprehensive enough.

“Our current standards really underestimate, or misinform, students on what it takes to be successful” at KU, said Marlesa Roney, vice provost for student success.

The admission standards, which were placed in state law in 1996, state that students may be admitted to a regents university if they have graduated from an accredited high school and have either an ACT score of 21, rank in the top third of their high school class or earn at least a 2.0 grade-point average on a prescribed curriculum.

Not good enough, say KU officials.

Those standards are allowing too many students into KU who are not ready for the school’s academic rigors, according to Roney.

Roney said some high school students meet the current admission requirements prior to their senior years, and then they coast until graduation.

“Then they get to college and there is an enormous culture shock academically,” she said.

Typically, 20 percent of the freshman class leaves KU within the first year, she said.

She said the entrance admissions need to include ways to gauge a student’s academic maturity, such as whether a student is good at seeking and using resources, achieving goals and establishing mentoring relationships. And, she said, the higher the score on the ACT, the more likely the student will succeed at KU.

“The goal is to graduate from KU, not just be admitted,” she said. “If we put that as our top priority there are variety of different ways to get that.”

Any proposed change would have to be blessed by the regents before taking effect.

Regent Gary Sherrer, who headed a task force that recommended the legislation to change the way standards are set, said the regents are more involved in the day-to-day oversight of universities and better-equipped than the Legislature to make decisions about admissions standards.

But under the new law, any new admission requirements adopted by the regents that are more rigorous than those already in place could not take effect for four years. This is designed to give students and schools time to adjust to the new requirements.

Roney said nothing definite as far as changes to the standards at KU had been decided yet, but she hoped KU would have a proposal before the regents during the current academic year.


avoice 8 years, 9 months ago

"...the entrance admissions need to include ways to gauge a student’s academic maturity, such as whether a student is good at seeking and using resources, achieving goals and establishing mentoring relationships."

These things are not being developed among U.S. students. It takes an entire process from kindergarten to high school to cultivate these qualities, and all our elementary and junior high schools care about is spending 3/4 of the school year preparing for state assessments. If it's not on the assessment, it's not a core staple of your child's education. This is where we've gone wrong, and it's a travesty that our children are unable to succeed at the college level while our best universities are filling with foreign nationals who have received from their earliest educations the tools they need to really succeed in life.

canyon_wren 8 years, 9 months ago

I agree 100%, avoice. It seems doubtful that the university raising its standards will make much difference as far as raising the quality of instruction at the lower levels, but we can hope it sends some sort of message. Unfortunately, too many of today's teachers attended public school after the (public school) standards were lowered, beginning in the mid- to late 60's--so they don't know what they are leaving out--or even how to teach the things that they ARE leaving out.

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