Archive for Monday, December 30, 2013

Regents discuss whether to shorten time period needed to increase admission standards

December 30, 2013


— Higher education officials are discussing whether to try to shorten the length of time it takes to change the admission standards at the state's public universities.

"We have to be able to make adjustments faster," said Kansas Board of Regents member Ed McKechnie.

Currently, admission criteria are the same for all six regents universities, but Kansas University's standards are scheduled to become tougher in 2016.

KU officials have said the more rigorous standards are aimed at increasing student achievement.

But it took KU several years to get those new standards approved in 2012. And once they were approved, state law dictates that there be a four-year period before implementation.

The argument for the four-year lead-in time was that it gives students entering high school time to adjust to the more rigorous requirements.

But McKechnie said the four-year lead-in "has become folklore," and he believes students and schools could prepare within a two-year time frame.

McKechnie said the regents should ask the Legislature to amend the law to shorten the time period.

But Regents Chairman Fred Logan said the subject would need more study before approaching the Legislature. "That's a mighty big issue," he said.

He said the top priority of the regents during the 2014 legislative session, which starts next month, will be getting funds restored that were cut.

During the last legislative session, Republican leaders cut higher education by $33 million over two years.

Tim Caboni, vice chancellor for public affairs at KU, said he understood the rationale behind waiting four years, but also agreed that the four-year period could be an impediment to adjust to changes.

"We welcome ongoing conversations around ensuring our prospective students understand the preparation necessary for their success at the University of Kansas," Caboni said.

Under the current college admission standards, a Kansas high school graduate can be admitted to a regents school if he or she meets one of these:

• Has an ACT score of at least 21 or SAT score of at least 980.

• Ranks in the top one-third of the high school class.

• Has a 2.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale in the Kansas Qualified Precollege Admissions curriculum.

Under the new standards at KU that will take effect in 2016, to be automatically admitted, graduating high school students would have to complete the precollege curriculum along with one of these:

• A minimum 3.0 GPA and an ACT score of at least 24 or SAT of at least 1090.

• A minimum 3.25 GPA and an ACT score of 21 or SAT of 980.

Students would also have to apply by Feb. 1 before their freshman year at KU to be considered for automatic application.


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