CLA to vote on dropping GPT

Several student panels have supported doing away with the language test for graduation.

by Jenna Ross

College of Liberal Arts students might not have to take the Graduation Proficiency Test as part of the school’s second-language requirement, if a proposal passes the CLA Assembly on Tuesday.

The CLA Student Board has pushed to revise the University’s second-language requirements. Its efforts could culminate Tuesday when the assembly reviews whether students will have to take the GPT after passing the equivalent of four semesters of a foreign language.

The exam – which students must pass to graduate from CLA- measures second-language reading and speaking proficiency.

Under the plan, students who pass or test out of the 1004 level of a second language will no longer need to take the GPT to further demonstrate their ability.

“Passing the proposal will get rid of the GPT by making it optional,” said Dan Weiske, former CLA Student Board president and current chairman Student Senate chairman. “That’s most people’s gripe: ‘After working hard in two years of classes, I have to jump through yet another hoop.’ “

CLA representatives said the proposal leaves the second-language requirement for CLA students intact.

In what he called a “rare” e-mail to all CLA students, Chris Kearns, assistant dean of CLA student services, said “the college has no plans to eliminate the second language requirement or the coursework normally associated with its completion.”

Kearns said the e-mail addressed students’ questions to the University about the elimination of CLA’s second-language requirement.

“We were concerned that students were misinterpreting things,” he said. “And our chief concern was that this misinterpretation would lead them to make wrong enrollment decisions that could actually hinder their graduating.”

Kearns said enrollment in second-language classes dropped from fall to spring semester.

“We’re not sure if it’s seasonal adjustment or students going on the theory that the second language requirement is going to be dropped,” Kearns said. “But I think the e-mail helped eliminate such worries.”

Kearns, like others involved, said the plan to modify the GPT requirement will likely pass.

“It looks like something that will probably happen,” he said.

Weiske agreed, noting the proposal’s past success.

“It has made it through a number of committees already,” he said.

The plan, a response to student concerns, has been in the works for about five years, Weiske said. Faculty, curriculum and student committees have reviewed and approved the proposal.

“The students have repeatedly shown that it’s worth changing,” Weiske said. “This really shows the effectiveness of the student voice.”

The proposal might bode well for students such as sophomore Jack Hadlich, who passed French 1004 but had to retake it after he failed the GPT last semester.

With the board’s impending decision, he is unsure if he will stay in his class.

“It sucks because I worked my entire schedule around the five-credit monster of a class,” Hadlich said. “It continues to be a bad experience. And although the GPT isn’t the sole cause, it’s definitely one of the roots of the problem.”