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News Editorial Other Voices Interview

Texas' "Ten Percenters"
In the absence of affirmative action, the state struggles to increase minority enrollments

  In This Issue

"College shouldn't be a factory," says Bennington College senior Mary Catherine La Mar, who left Columbia University for the creative freedom of Bennington. (continue)

Texas' "Ten Percenters"
In the absence of affirmative action, the state struggles to increase minority enrollments
  "Catastrophic Court Ruling"

High Marks
Mounting evidence of "grade inflation" across the country

On its Own Terms
After a controversial restructuring, Bennington College continues its non-traditional approach

Technological Transformation
An ambitious national effort to use technology more effectively in large introductory university classes

News from the Center
Center Program Associates
  Letters to the Editor


Other Voices
Facing New Challenges
The higher education community must take the lead in addressing the dramatic pace of external change

Unfinished Agenda
Transfer accountability should be a top state policy priority

Revamping the SAT
Will the modified test make the grade?

By Carl Irving

Less than two years after arriving as a self-described "fearful freshman" on the sprawling University of Texas campus, with its 49,000-plus students, sophomore Karla Vargas has achieved a 3.5 grade point average, and she hopes to qualify for law school. One of the first of a slowly growing number of Hispanic "ten percenters" from working class families, recruited after affirmative action was banned, Vargas is eager to make the most of her opportunity. "With four siblings, I've got pressures to succeed," she said. Vargas, 20, graduated from a Dallas high school attended mostly by Hispanic and African American students from low-income families. She is the daughter of immigrant parents and the first in her family to go to college. Vargas and students with similar backgrounds came here from high schools that rarely, if ever, had sent their graduates to Austin, flagship campus of the University of Texas system, until admissions policies were changed and recruiters began tracking them down and offering many, including Vargas, special scholarships. (continue)

High Marks
Mounting evidence of "grade inflation" across the country

By Jon Marcus

It was one of the year's hottest topics in higher education, and convincing evidence of long-suspected grade inflation in the Ivy League: the disclosure that Harvard University was awarding honors to more than 90 percent of its graduating seniors. But an equally dramatic event was occurring largely out of public notice at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law.

Concerned that its graduates were at a growing disadvantage in a job market flooded with students who were coasting through the Ivies with inflated grades, the law school adjusted its own grading scale. The outcome: Even as Harvard was being forced to make changes to restrain its students' seemingly out-of-control GPAs, the median grade at the Washington law school was inflated from a B-minus to a B-plus. (continue)












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