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CLA abandons GPT requirement

Current students are included in the plan to ease the College of Liberal Arts language requirement.

In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the College of Liberal Arts Assembly voted to drop the Graduation Proficiency Test as part of the college’s second-language requirement. The changes will go into effect immediately.

In accordance with the decision, CLA students who passed a 1004-level second-language class or its equivalent but failed the GPT no longer have to retake the test. CLA students currently in a 1004-level second-language classes will not have to take the GPT to graduate.

In addition, former students whose GPT failure prevented them from graduating can now file to do so, said Arlene Carney, associate dean for CLA academic programs.

The college will notify all students since 1990 in that situation, Carney said.

Carney said she would e-mail current CLA students today to inform them of the Assembly’s decision and how they will be affected.

The e-mail is part of the college’s plan to educate students about the change, Carney said.

In preparation for the decision, the college also readied handouts, advising information and Web sites.

“We’ve created a Web page with what we expect will be frequently asked questions and their answers,” Carney said. “Although I’m sure we haven’t thought of everything, we probably have a good handle on the major issues.”

The most difficult questions, Carney said, will come from transfer students, whose situations will be reviewed individually.

“Students are going to have questions, and we’re going to answer them,” said Charlotte Melin, chairwoman of the committee on second-language education, the group that created the proposal. “The plans are already under way.”

The proposal details the language proficiency exam, which is identical to the GPT except it is not required to graduate. As with the GPT, students can pass out of the second-language requirement by passing the language proficiency exam.

Before voting, assembly members checked that students’ transcripts will reflect that they passed the language proficiency exam.

“Students feel this is important,” said Carney, who has been working with the registrar to prepare for this change. “Even with the GPT, students had been asking for that transcript line.”

Fifth-year political science student Andrew Allen failed the GPT after passing two years in German. He attended the meeting and was pleased to learn that he would not have to retake the GPT.

“When I started 1004, my professor told us ‘(the GPT) will never go away, so just deal with it,’ ” Allen said. “This is an awesome surprise.”

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