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BYU-I sets new academic standards

The academic standards for BYU-Idaho have changed, according to the New Academic Standards Web page on the BYU-I website.

Kyle Martin, the university registrar for the Student Records and Registration Office, said the new standards were created for students’ benefit.

“We’ve changed the academic standards to focus more on the students’ academic performance, which means that the academic standards are tied to the semester GPA and the accumulative GPA,” Martin said. “The accumulative GPA has always been 2.0 and will remain at 2.0. The semester GPA, in order to remain in good standing has — up until fall of 2015 — been 1.0 GPA for that specific term. That is now increasing to 2.0.”

He said the other significant change is the removal of the Satisfactory Progress Standard.

“It has been that the student must earn progress grades in a minimum of 75 percent of the credits in which they are enrolled in a given term,” Martin said. “That doesn’t mean we aren’t emphasizing the satisfactory academic progress, but we’ll do that under more of a stewardship initiative as opposed to actually enforcing it in academic standards.”

He said if a student received a “W” in several classes, which would have taken them below the 75 percent requirement, they would go into “academic warning,” even if they had a very high GPA.

He said some students had a negative reaction to this.

“In some ways, it will help students with progress so that you can make progress at your own pace,” said Jeanna Hensley, a senior studying English. “In other ways, if you do really bad in a class, it might make it seem harsher because before, it was 1.0. But I think overall, it will be a good thing.”

Martin said that after extensive research, the Student Records and Registration office determined raising the GPA was the best course of action.

“The change to the 2.0 is necessary because the student must have a 2.0 GPA in order to graduate,” Martin said.

He said students will know better whether there are any issues upon their graduation.

“We have done quite a bit of outreach to let students know what the new standards are and that they have changed some,” Martin said.

Elizabeth Merrill, a junior studying English, said she thinks the new GPA standards will be beneficial to students when searching for jobs after graduation.

“I think it will make students work harder, which might be hard, but which will prepare them for work in the real world,” Merrill said.

There is an Academic Standing Interaction Tool students can look at to see the different levels of standing, according to the BYU-I website.

Martin said everyone starts on good academic standing.

“If they have a semester where their semester GPA is below a 2.0, then they would go to academic warning,” Martin said.

He said in order to get out of academic warning, students must complete an academic workshop.

“It helps them understand what the academic standards are, connect them to the resources on campus that will help them be successful, and then how they can return to good academic standing,” Martin said.

Martin said the workshop is the only requirement for students to complete if they are on academic warning.

He said the workshop is in an  I-Learn module.

“It provides information, and then there are some kind of quiz-type of questions that test their knowledge, and they can take it as many times as they need to, to get a 100 percent,” Martin said.

He said if students fall below a 2.0 semester GPA, a student will go on academic probation if they have been on academic warning before. He said students on academic probation can take a maximum of 12 credits and have to take another version of the workshop.

“The effort there is to help them try and keep their academic credits to a minimum but still be full time so that they can really focus all their energy and attention in being successful,” Martin said.

If they fall below the standards a third time, they go on academic suspension.

“Academic suspension means a student is not eligible to enroll at BYU-Idaho in any course for two consecutive semesters, and that does include an off-track semester as well,” Martin said. “And the hope there is that they will take the time to address the issues that are preventing them from being successful in their school work.”

He said students will come back on academic probation and have to take another version of the workshop.

“Once a student is suspended, if they fail to meet the academic standards for a fourth time, then if the student has above a 2.0 accumulative GPA, they return to academic suspension,” Martin said. “If they have below a 2.0 GPA, they are academically dismissed from BYU-Idaho.”

He said that in some cases, if a student wants to re-enroll, they can make a petition after three years.

“No one is academically dismissed until they fail to meet the academic standards for four semesters,” Martin said. “And so, if a student fails to meet the academic standards for four semesters, that is about half of their time that they should spend here, which really means they haven’t utilized the resources that the institution, that BYU-Idaho, has allocated to that student.”

Whitney Summers, a junior studying English education, said she thinks the new standards will help students concentrate more on getting an education, rather than just the social aspect of college.

“I think it’s a good change and a smart change,” Summers said. “Why should the school expect the least of us when God expects the most of us? The standard should be higher if our main goal is to better ourselves.”

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