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Stats show freshman class may not be 'most academically gifted class ever'

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Average GPA

In an earlier version of this story, the Wildcat incorrectly stated that contrary to a report from UANews, the UA had a higher number of minority students in 2006 than in 2009. The Wildcat made its calculations based on diversity statistics provided in the UA Fact Book.


However, a second review of these figures show that UANews is correct and the Wildcat miscalculated. This year's freshman class is the most diverse recorded, with 34 percent being minorities. The Wildcat was wrong and regrets the error.

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A press release from UANews praised the incoming freshmen as the ""most academically gifted class ever,"" but statistics from the UA's own Fact Book say otherwise about some of those claims.


The release says the average SAT score for the incoming 2009-2010 freshmen class is 1102, which is slightly higher than last year's class average of 1096.  But this year's number is equal to the 2007 levels, according to the UA Fact Book.


The release, published Aug. 18, stated that the 78 National Merit Scholars who made up part of this year's freshman class were a record, though 92 National Merit Scholars were enrolled in 2006 and 104 were part of the 2005 freshman class.


The release also stated that this freshman class' mean high school GPA of 3.3 is slightly higher than last year's mean average, but according to the UA Fact Book, the fall averages for the past five fall semesters (3.39, 3.36, 3.38, 3.40, 3.40, respectively) were all higher, though there may be a discrepancy in this year's figure because it has one less significant figure than other years.


A letter from ASUA president Chris Nagata that ran in Aug. 26's Daily Wildcat said the ""class of 2013 represent(s) the most diverse and academically successful entry class to date.""


Nagata also brought up the number of honors students in this year's freshman class — about 1,000 to go with about 200 honors transfer students. That figure is greater than any year since 2000, according to the UA Fact Book.""Those kind of benchmarks,"" Nagata said, ""are the foundation of where those statements from the university and from myself are coming from.""


President Robert Shelton said the UA uses its own academic index to evaluate incoming students, which encompasses a variety of factors including standardized test scores and a high school's academic standing and difficulty of curriculum.



Because prospective students are not required to take the SAT, he said, these scores can be an inadequate indicator of students' academic quality.


Shelton added that the UA's evaluative system is ""not foolproof.""


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