Mississippi universities want more courses for new students

May 17, 2018

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s eight public universities plan to raise their admission requirements, in line with changes made earlier to the state’s public high school diplomas.

The College Board on Thursday voted preliminarily to increase the number of academic credits high school students would need for full admission. The board must vote again later.

The changes would begin with students entering in fall 2022. Those students will start high school this fall and will be the first subject to new high school diploma requirements.

The K-12 system voted last year to change high school diplomas, creating traditional diploma as well as an alternate diploma for some special education students. For students earning a traditional diploma, state officials want students to seek one of three endorsements — career and technical, academic and distinguished academic.

Students will have to take four years of math, up from three now. Social studies requirements will rise from three years to three-and-a-half years. Students will have to a year of computer science or technology, up from the current half year.

The College Board’s new requirements mirror the academic endorsement, although the universities recommend students follow the more rigorous distinguished academic track.

“We’ve edited our admission requirements to reflect what high school graduates will have in fall 2022,” the College Board’s Heather Morrison said.

Any student who completes the academic endorsement with a 3.2 grade-point average or higher earns admissions to any of the eight universities. Any student who completes the curriculum with a 2.5 GPA must score 16 or higher on the ACT college test. Any student who finishes the curriculum with 2.0 GPA must score 18 or higher on the ACT. Universities also accept students who meet NCAA Division I standards.

Associate State Superintendent Jean Massey said the K-12 diploma overhaul aims to ensure high school graduates are ready for postsecondary work. High schools are also trying to reduce remedial work needed by incoming freshmen by placing some seniors in special English and math courses.

Massey said research shows that student performance suffers if they interrupt their math studies, part of the reason for pushing a fourth year of math in high school.

Massey said students earning a career-tech endorsement should be able to get into community college or high school as well. And students don’t need any endorsement at all.

“You can still get into college without earning an endorsement as long as you take the right courses,” Massey said.


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