Class of 2012 brings in higher ACT scores

The class of 2012 has higher class ranks and better average ACT scores than any other incoming class in the UniversityâÄôs history, according to data released by the UniversityâÄôs Office of Admissions. This yearâÄôs freshman class may be one of the most selectively chosen, as the percentage of students scoring higher than a 24 on the ACT exam increased by more than 6 percent from last year, from just over 75 to nearly 82 percent. The percentage of students graduating in the top 10th of their high school class increased nearly 9 percent, to 52.8. Ten years ago, that percentage was just 28. According to the Department of Admissions website, the primary factors for admission to the University are grade point average, ACT scores, high school rank and rigor of high school curriculum. First-year student Sean Oyaas said selectivity in admissions keeps students driven. âÄúThe bar keeps rising for prospective students at the University,âÄù he said. And much technology âÄî cell phones, GPS and caller ID, for example âÄî has been available to the class for a greater percentage of their lives relative to previous first-year classes. This, however, doesnâÄôt mean that access to technology influenced their intelligence. Mark Pedelty , a journalism professor specializing in popular culture, said while the theory of technology enabling intelligence is âÄúan option,âÄù he said it doesnâÄôt necessarily make people smarter. âÄú[TechnologyâÄôs] utilization in educational settings can advance knowledge,âÄù he said, âÄúbut most uses of technology do little to educate us.âÄù Technology could even have a negative effect, he said, especially when the topic turns to video games. âÄúYou can have the TV on and still study, but playing a video game is all-consuming,âÄù he said. âÄúWatch a kid play Guitar Hero. While I applaud those who create and use video games to teach and learn, the way most kids play video games appears to actually hurt their academic achievement.âÄù Overall, Pedelty said the technology argument pans out neutrally. âÄúIt hasnâÄôt necessarily enlightened us nor made us into stupid, borg-like drones,âÄù he said. But Maria Abernethy , a first-year neuroscience student, said technology can be helpful if used in the right way. âÄúIt can be used as a learning tool,âÄù she said. âÄúIf they use the right sites, it can be very helpful.âÄù