Hammond clarifies new standards from the Kansas Board of Regents

The Kansas Board of Regents, at their regular monthly meeting on Wednesday and Thursday in Topeka, made changes to the standards high school graduates must meet to be admitted to state universities.

"These are good changes, and they raise the standards a bit, but some of the news reports seem to be overstating the extent of the change," said Dr. Edward H. Hammond, president of Fort Hays State University.

Under the old standards, Kansas high school graduates had to meet any of three qualifications:
·        Complete the college curriculum with at least a 2.0 grade point average; or
·        Finish in the top third of their class; or
·        Have a minimum 21 ACT score or 980 SAT score.

Under the new standards, Kansas high school graduates must complete the state’s college curriculum with at least a 2.0 grade point average. In addition, graduates must either finish in the top third of their class or have a minimum 21 ACT score or 980 SAT score.

"The change is that instead of meeting any of three criteria, the graduates must meet the first criterion and either of the other two criteria," President Hammond explained. "Also, there continues to be an additional path to admission. Under both the old standards and the new standards, state universities have a 'window of opportunity' to admit 15 percent of freshman applicants who do not meet the standards."

The Regents also made a change in the state's college curriculum. To qualify, high school students must take a fourth year of math. However, a computer class is no longer required, so there is no change of the total of credit hours required.

"Board Chair Gary Sherrer led an Admission Task Force to better prepare students for college, and research showed that laying off math in the senior year had the effect of putting students behind when they enter college," President Hammond said. "Students who have sufficiently high ACT scores are not required to take the fourth year of math."

The new standards take effect in four years at the state universities, so they will affect high school freshmen beginning in fall 2011.

"Although not drastic, these are good changes that will make Kansas high school students better prepared for success in college," President Hammond said.

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