Although Purdue’s standards for admission are high, its academic expectations for enrolled students remain lower than other Big Ten schools, which has led to interest in changing academic policies.
The Academic Progress and Records Committee is proposing changes to Purdue’s policies on academic probation and the drop policy. The changes include evaluating solely a student’s cumulative GPA and excluding his or her semester GPA. In addition, the minimum GPA to remain in good academic standing would be raised.
Faculty members voiced
concerns over evaluating solely a student’s cumulative GPA.
“A student who has a good semester but who hasn’t yet brought up their cumulative GPA high enough should not be penalized,” said Jeffery Gray, a professor in the College of Engineering.
Vicki Cline, an academic program administrator in the College of Engineering, agreed that changing to harsher policies could be a detriment to students who are trying to recover from a lower GPA earned early on.
“These kids now have this curse that they carry with them. No matter what they try to do to fix it, they can’t,” Cline said. “The way it sits right now, the students do not get a second chance.”
Lesa Beals, a senior associate registrar for records, registration, and graduation, countered this point by arguing that letting students continue on without consequences for poor academic performance doesn’t necessarily help them succeed, either.
“You’re allowing students to ignore mistakes that they’ve made,” Beals said, referring to having lower standards for good academic standing.
Another aspect of the proposal included ideas for more proactive methods of helping students to be successful. One method was the Student Success Predictive Tool, in which students who may be in need of more assistance are identified based on factors such as pre-college characteristics, high school performance and
engagement on campus.
“There is a real correlation between a student’s level of preparedness upon entry and their probability of ending up on probation or ultimately being dropped,” said Dan Carpenter, associate director of student access, transition and success programs. “If we are admitting them, then we have an obligation to identify them walking in and to do something about it.”
An intervention program would help to identify students in need of help and to assist them before they end up on academic probation.
For now, discussions on the proposed changes will continue before any final policy changes are decided upon.