The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Are Guilford students becoming smarter?

At face value it appears that the “Fall 2007 Grade Reports: Dean’s List, Probation, Suspensions and Dismissals” support the idea that Guilford students may be getting smarter. The grade reports were released on Jan. 17 by the Academic Dean’s Office.According to the grade reports, 24 percent of the student body earned Dean’s List recognition (3.5-4.0 GPA), which is higher than the average (22.9 percent) for the past five years. The fall new probation rate for traditional students has been steadily decreasing, reaching 4.7 percent. The suspension/ dismissal rate for continuing education (CCE) students (3.9 percent) was slightly lower than the five-year average.

The percentage of early college students on the dean’s list reached on all-time high of nearly 50 percent last fall.

“There have been no dramatic changes,” said Steve Shapiro, associate academic dean and associate professor of physics.

He explained that the averages and most statistics have shown no significant variation in student performance over the past several years.

But Shapiro did point out some trends. He said that the decrease in the fall new probation rates for traditional students and the increase in the number of early college students on the dean’s list are trends that look promising and real.

When asked whether Guilford students were becoming smarter, he said, “it is hard to say,” but commented that as in previous years, Guilford College students are, “just as wonderful, clever, creative and fun to work with . They are the reason I’m here.”

When asked what he would attribute the fall statistics to, Allen Spain Jr., CCE student and business administration major, said “I think it is a combination of professors becoming more understanding and students working harder. Students realize how important a college degree is. Students may not be getting smarter, but they are working harder.”

Senior psychology major Bobbie Jo Taft also thinks that professors have something to do with the figures.

“A lot of new professors have come to Guilford and they are more lenient with grades because they want to demonstrate that they are capable of doing their job” Taft said. “The more students who receive good grades in their classes, the better it makes them look, and students don’t have to work as hard as they used to.”

“The professors are definitely not more lenient,” said Amber Rhodes, early college senior and two-time dean’s list honoree. “I’ve seen a more selective freshmen class. Everyone is working harder.”

The grade reports also contain information on dismissals and suspensions. Altogether 89 students were dismissed/suspended after fall 2007. For students new to Guilford, a GPA of 1.00 or less results in dismissal and a term GPA greater than 1.0 but less than a 2.0 results in academic probation. For students on academic probation, a term GPA less than a 2.0 results in suspension/dismissal.

Of the dismissal/suspension letters, Shapiro said he dislikes sending them, but stated, “The worst thing I can do is not send them.” He noted that such safeguards are put in place to help prevent students from incurring “academic debt” if they are not making satisfactory progress towards graduation.

In recent years the admission office of Guilford has raised the bar for those applying to the college. The median SAT critical reading scores for the new freshmen class were 510-640, the math scores were 510-620, and the writing scores ranged from 500-620. The median ACT scores were 22-27 and the average high school GPA was 3.19. Last fall the admission office received 3,492 first-year applications, 2,017 were admitted and 452 new first-year students enrolled.

So are Guilford students becoming smarter? It may be a while before a conclusion can be drawn. Future grade reports bear watching.

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