It had recently been discovered by the dean of arts office that 43 per cent or 632 first-year students have a grade point average (GPA) of less than 5.0 — facing risk of academic probation.
This is an alarming statistic. With a ten per cent increase from last year, Laurier needs to ask tough questions about why our students are being increasingly left behind so early on in their academic career.
It does seem that this is partially a result of a tremendously low minimum acceptance average for the arts at Laurier. With a minimum acceptance of 86 per cent in business, average GPAs are much higher at 7.86, compared to a rather pathetic minimum acceptance of 72 per cent in the arts.
Given rampant grade inflation in high schools across the country and a culture that pushes people into university education, even if it isn’t right for them, it should not strike anyone as surprising that an increasing number of students can’t cope with university life.
There are two likely reactions to this problem by the university. A band-aid solution already being done to some extent is the creation of informational sessions and increased resources towards helping students in areas such as writing skills and time management. The second is to water down the quality of the education we receive to ensure Laurier keeps up its graduation percentage and push students through the system, which is also happening to an extent as many professors bell curve their marks in bids to keep their class averages up.
Both of these solutions miss the root of the problem entirely and serve to compromise the integrity of the education we receive. If Laurier is truly concerned about student success and our academic reputation, it is about time they considered raising the minimum acceptance to the arts to reflect the obvious inflation occurring in Ontario’s high school system.