Iowa Regents approve new standardized class rank standard for in-state applicants

Students from high schools without class rank will have a new standard for ranking

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CEDAR FALLS — Iowa applicants to the state’s public universities who come from high schools without class rank will be assessed using a new, revised standard approved by the Board of Regents on Thursday.

The new calculation gives more weight to test scores and grade-point average than the original “regent admission index,” which scores applicants based on ACT or SAT scores, grade-point average, number of high school core courses, and high school rank.

Applicants to University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and University of Northern Iowa who graduate from high schools that do track class rank will continue to be assessed under the original formula. Only those students without class rank will assessed using the new model.

But that number is growing. About 31.6 percent of freshmen across the three regent schools in fall 2013 didn’t have a class rank.

The board charged its staff to create a standard alternate admission calculation for those without class rank because each university has developed a different approach for assessing those applicants.

The board implemented the original admission index in 2009 as a way to qualify Iowa students for automatic admission to the public universities. Any applicant who earns a score of at least 245 gets in.

Universities will begin using the alternative method to assess those students without class rank applying for the fall 2016 semester, but it could be a temporary fix. Regents on Thursday said they’d like one method used for all student applicants — whether they have class rank or not.

Board staff said the goal is to continue research and discussions with high school counselors and other stakeholders and to get back to one standard admission index.

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