Sherman College to Raise Entering GPA Requirement

Effective spring quarter 2008, Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic will raise its entering grade-point average (GPA) requirement (currently 2.5 on a 4.0 scale) by one-tenth of a point each year, until the entering GPA reaches 3.0 in 2012. The college’s Board of Trustees approved the policy in early March. The proposal to increase the entering GPA requirement initiated from faculty recommendations and from several discussions in meetings of the college’s Academic Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness Committees. The increased admission standards were also discussed extensively with student representatives, academic deans and the Enrollment Services office, and they reflect the rising qualifications needed for students to be academically successful at Sherman. The first incremental increase in spring 2008 will bring the required entering GPA to 2.6. “Our goal in adopting this policy is to attract students who are adequately prepared for the rigor of the academic program at Sherman College,” says Vice President for Academic Affairs Jon Schwartzbauer, D.C. “It is only appropriate that the requirements associated with admission to Sherman College be aligned with the expectations students will encounter when they enter the doctor of chiropractic program,” Schwartzbauer explains. Increasing the entering GPA requirement specifically addresses an objective of the college’s Strategic Plan to “increase student quality in the recruitment process by using indicators of student success to evaluate candidates.” Included in the college’s definition of student success are (1) completing the doctor of chiropractic degree program in 14 quarters and (2) passing all four parts of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners’ tests before graduation. The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) currently requires a minimum entrance GPA of 2.5 for students enrolling in all chiropractic colleges. A study of entrance data for Sherman students enrolling between 2004 and 2006 compared entrance GPAs with Sherman College quarterly GPAs, cumulative GPAs and national board scores. Strong correlations were found between entrance requirements and Sherman College GPAs and national board scores, supporting the concept that increasing the entrance requirement would lead to an improvement in student performance in the chiropractic program and on national board exams. College officials believe increasing the entrance requirements will result in better-equipped students who are able to thrive within the chiropractic program. In addition, the change should result in increased retention and graduation rates. Vice President for Enrollment Services Robert Irwin, D.C., doesn’t expect the revised policy to cause any changes in enrollment trends, as most Sherman students exceed a 2.6 entering GPA. By giving a year’s notice to students preparing for admission, the college does not expect the change to be a hardship on any qualified candidates. “We want to ensure the best possible fit between Sherman College and its students,” Irwin says. “Aligning admission requirements with the high academic standards already in place at Sherman just makes sense.” Executive Vice President/Provost Myron Brown, D.C., who serves on the task committee of the CCE that is currently considering a major re-write of its educational standards, agrees. He says that because part of Sherman College’s mission is to train leaders for the profession, raising the entering GPA is appropriate. As a member of the task force, Brown hopes the CCE’s new educational standards will focus on outcomes relative to an institution’s mission and leave the process, including entering GPAs, up to the institutions. Sherman College will continue to monitor the effect of entering GPA on educational outcomes and if necessary, will adjust admission policies accordingly.

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