The Orion

New GE standards will harm grad rate


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Illustration by Liz Coffee

Illustration by Liz Coffee

The enigma of General Education has just turned into a seemingly impossible Sudoku puzzle.

Currently, Chico State students are required to take 48 units of GE classes within 11 different areas and pass with a C- or better.

Four-year students are now expected to receive a C rather than a C- in oral communication, written communication, critical thinking and quantitative reasoning classes, or Area A courses.

If a student fails to achieve a C grade, they are required to take the class over again.

Chico State boasts that if a student takes 15 units a semester and plans ahead, they can get out of here in four years. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of room for failure, or a C-, in this plan, apparently.

Chico State has a four-year graduation rate of 17 percent. This means that only 1.7 out of 10 students will finish in four years.

It seems that by raising the academic standard, the university is setting themselves up for a decrease in that rate, one that is actually the highest in the CSU system.

University spokespeople say that by raising the standard they are creating consistency between four-year students and transfer students, who are already held to this grade standard.

Holding all students to the same standard makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is holding them to a standard that used to be considered “the average grade.”

There is a reason that students go to college and select specific majors–; it’s where they excel.

General Education already pushes students into areas they struggle with.

So, when the grade expectation rises, a university is setting these students up for failure, some to a point where they drop out and can’t achieve full utilization of their talents.

Another concern is the requirement to retake these courses if a student fails, and with that requirement comes more fees.

Tuition went up for the fall 2015 semester and who knows where it will be in a year when this requirement is implemented.

When students don’t make the grade cut for these courses, they will be paying upwards of $900 for a class they already took and probably understood.

Chico State advisors say that as long as students write out a four-year plan and stick to it, they will be just fine.

Make sure you are writing out that academic plan in pencil, class of 2020, you’re going to need an eraser.

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New GE standards will harm grad rate