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Faculty May Tighten Advanced Standing

By Amy B. Mcintosh

Mack I. Davis, director of advanced standing, said yesterday he will recommend to the Faculty Council that students be required to take four advanced placement (A.P.) tests in high school instead of three to qualify for sophomore standing.

He will also suggest that advanced standing students who elect to take a fourth year be required to fulfill all the Core Curriculum requirements. The Standing Committee on the Core is studying how to reduce Core requirements for students who are eligible for degrees in less than four years.

Currently under General Education, advanced standing students receive exemptions from departmental distribution courses outside their area of concentration. If students take a fourth year, they usually do not have to make up the exemptions.

The Standing Committee on the Core heard Davis's proposals Tuesday and also approved a plan for gradual implementation of Core requirements over four years, beginning with next year's freshman class.

Grade Grubbing

Davis said the Faculty Council may also want to raise the minimum A.P. test grade that qualifies for advanced standing from a three to a four on a scale of five.

Students who meet the current sophomore standing requirements, "feel they must be well prepared to handle middle-level course work," Davis said. "The nature of work here has changed so that three threes may no longer be a reliable standard by which to predict academic success."

Davis said that disallowing Core exemptions if a student takes a fourth year will insure that people do not take advanced standing just to reduce their non-concentration requirements.


Some advanced standing students make "a premature decision to enter a department, not because they are already committed to the field of study, but because the line around Harvard has always been, 'take advanced standing. You'll get a break in Gen Ed,'" Davis said.

The changes, if approved by the Faculty, will not be implemented for at least two years to give high school students notice about the stricter requirements, Davis said.


He estimated that the new requirements may cut the number of students accepting advanced standing in half in the short run, but in the long run the numbers may rise again as students take more high school preparation.

In the past five years, about 20 per cent of each entering class has been eligible for advanced standing, and about 10 per cent have accepted it, Davis said.

Under the Core transition requirements, the Class of '83 will have to take one half-course in each of two sub-areas of the Core. The requirement will increase by two each year until the Class of '86 which will have to fulfill the complete eight half-course Core.

Many current Gen Ed courses that do not fit into the Core and do not become departmental courses will be in a new group of "non-departmental" courses. During the transition period, these courses and Core courses will be assigned to one of the three Gen Ed course areas for students who must still fulfill all or part of Gen Ed.

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