Thursday, September 01, 2016

Op-ed: All Ammons’ freshman classes had 3.0+ average GPAs

On Monday, the Tallahassee Democrat’s website posted an op-ed written by William J. Miller, III, a graduate of the Florida A&M University School of Business and Industry. Miller pointed out that all the freshman classes that entered FAMU during the presidency of James H. Ammons (2007-2012) had 3.0+ average GPAs from high school.

From the op-ed “Ammons’ students were well-qualified”:

There are false, but enduring, claims that former President James Ammons grew student numbers largely by admitting young women and men who performed poorly in high school. And then, the story continues, enrollment tumbled after the current administration decided to restrict enrollment mainly to high performing students.

Such is the perception of many who have not checked the facts.

FAMU Fact Book data proves that all full-time, first-time-in-college students Ammons admitted held an average high school grade point average that exceeded the 3.0 benchmark. In other words, all his freshman classes entered with “B” averages.

A 3.0 GPA or above represents high academic achievement by the standards of Florida Board of Governors Regulation 6.002, which addresses admissions. That is why no minimum standardized test scores are set for first-time-in-college applicants who hold a 3.0 or higher. Minimum SAT and/or ACT scores are only required for applicants with a 2.99 to 2.50 GPA.

But sadly, the freshmen who enrolled under Ammons are too often maligned as “low performing” due to persistent stereotypes against students who enter through alternative admissions, also called “profile assessment.”

In 2006, the Legislature raised the minimum mathematics units requirements for admissions from three units “at or above” Algebra I to four. That unfunded mandate presented an unfair obstacle to thousands of students at Florida public high schools that traditionally send large numbers of their graduates to FAMU. Especially at the Great Recession’s onset, many such schools lacked the financial resources to immediately expand their mathematics offerings.

The alternative admissions policy permits presidents to consider factors such as the GPAs of students who lack one or more requirements for regular admission. Ammons used that policy appropriately by admitting high performing students who often, through no fault of their own, lacked the opportunity to obtain enough mathematics units for regular admission. After permitting temporary increases in the annual percentage of alternative freshman admissions, he began incrementally reducing that percentage.

Read the full op-ed here.

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