Changes in state university admissions standards proposed

The Kansas Board of Regents is considering a proposal that would eliminate the current precollege high school curriculum as a requirement for admission to state universities and substitute a grade point requirement in place of class rank. 

The proposal developed by a Regent’s work group and endorsed by its staff was presented to the Board in June and tabled for future consideration. 

Currently, Emporia State, Fort Hays State, Kansas State, Pittsburg State and Wichita State all require most entering Freshmen to have a minimum ACT composite score of 21 or rank in the top third of their graduating class; and to complete a college prep curriculum of 16 specific units and certain courses in English, math, science, social studies and electives. The University of Kansas requires either a minimum 21 ACT score and a 3.25 grade point average or a minimum 24 ACT score and a 3.0 GPA, as well as the prep curriculum. 

Under the proposal, ESU, FHSU, PSU and WSU would require a 21 ACT or higher and a 2.25 GPA, and KSU would require a 21 ACT and 3.25 GPA. KU’s ACT and GPA requirements would remain the same. For all institutions, the college prep curriculum would be dropped as a requirement. Instead, curriculum units, but not specific courses, would be recommended but not required. 

Students are also required to have a 2.0 GPA in any college courses taken in high school, which would not change under the proposal. 

According to Regents staff, the move is designed to simplify the admissions process, and studies show that the high school GPA is a strong predictor of undergraduate performance. 

Education Commissioner Randy Watson says the Department of Education is studying the proposal’s impact on high school students and on the State Board of Education goals for individual plans of study, higher postsecondary attainment and school redesign. 

On one hand, he said, the change could provide more flexibility to students in selecting high school courses and for high schools to design coursework outside of traditional credits. On the other hand, it might not encourage students to take courses with the rigor required to prepare for postsecondary success.  

The change could also have an impact on small schools that struggle to offer the Regents college prep curriculum. 

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