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    Decoding the GPA Category: A Closer Look at Title II Data

    Editor’s note: This is the last blog in our series exploring data on program entry and exit requirements from the 2014 federal collection mandated by Title II of the Higher Education Act. The data include 1,497 providers of “traditional” programs based in institutions of higher education (IHEs), 472 providers of IHE-based alternative programs, and 201 providers of non-IHE-based alternative programs.

    Despite the questionable validity of using students’ grade-point averages (GPAs) to predict their future success on the job as classroom teachers, GPA is one of the most common requirements for admission to and graduation from many colleges and professional schools.

    Arguing that only top-performing students should be admitted into the teaching profession, some policy makers and educators have promoted elevating the minimum GPA required for teacher preparation program admission to at least 3.0. According to Title II data, however, the average GPA of teacher candidates already surpasses that standard.

    The Title II survey captures the minimum GPAs required for program entry and exit from all U.S. teacher preparation providers. In addition, it collects the median GPAs of candidates’ actual academic performance at the time of program entry and exit. The tables below depict median GPAs as an average across all reporting providers in each category.

    Undergraduate-Level GPA

     

     

    Entry

    Exit

    Program type

    Minimum required GPA

    Average median GPA

    Minimum required GPA

    Average median GPA

    Alternative, IHE-based

    Mean

    2.69

    3.20

    2.70

    3.45

    N

    55

    83

    87

    82

    Alternative, non-IHE-based

    Mean

    2.58

    3.19

    2.55

    3.27

    N

    6

    8

    4

    9

    Traditional

    Mean

    2.65

    3.29

    2.67

    3.45

    N

    1,279

    1,323

    1,295

    1,324

    At the undergraduate level, on average, the minimum required entry GPA from IHE-based alternative programs is slightly higher than those from the traditional and non-IHE-based alternative programs. However, traditional program candidates hold the highest median GPA at entry at undergraduate level, followed closely by IHE-based alternative programs and non-IHE-based alternative programs.

    As with program entry, IHE-based alternative programs require higher GPA at program exit, on average, than those of traditional and non-IHE-based alternative programs. Candidates from IHE-based alternative and traditional programs have the same median GPA at exit.

    Graduate-Level GPA

     

     

    Entry

    Exit

    Program type

    Minimum required GPA

    Average median GPA

    Minimum required GPA

    Average median GPA

    Alternative, IHE-based

    Mean

    2.73

    3.24

    2.89

    3.63

    N

    428

    405

    408

    408

    Alternative, non-IHE-based

    Mean

    2.59

    3.13

    2.75

    3.23

    N

    146

    167

    65

    155

    Traditional

    Mean

    2.80

    3.33

    3.19

    3.70

    N

    934

    939

    931

    932

    At the graduate level, traditional programs have a slightly higher GPA requirement for program entry and exit than do IHE-based and non-IHE-based alternative programs. Traditional program candidates also have the highest median GPA of the three groups at program entry and exit.

    According to the Title II data, non-IHE-based alternative programs have the lowest GPA requirements for both program entry and exit. Candidates from these programs also have lower median GPAs.

    In general, regardless of the level of study, teacher candidates’ actual GPAs are higher than the minimum required GPAs, at both entry and exit levels. Contrary to the common complaint that teacher preparation programs need to raise their required GPAs, the Title II data show that, on average, teacher candidates already exceed these expectations.

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    Yupin Bae

    PEDS Manager, AACTE

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