BYU academic standards are inflated

Background: I’m a teacher at a very affluent public high school here in Utah and as such, I’m privy to a lot of academic information about students that attend this school (transcripts and test scores). It’s very common for students at this school to have 3.9+ GPAs and receive around 20 on the ACT because of parent bullying of teachers and practically forcing us to inflate grades with nothing the admin can do to help. It’s a practice I refuse to engage in and a major reason I’m leaving this year after losing so many battles to maintain some semblance of academic rigor. Anyway, more than a few of my previous students have been accepted to BYU with such credentials. It’s a zoob’s favorite piece of “smack talk” and I thought you’d all find it humorous that it’s mostly crap. Private schools are what they are.

I seem to recall hearing similar statements about BYU’s academic rigor from another source. I wish I could give more info, but I don’t recall who said it, let alone when. What you said doesn’t surprise me, from either the HS grade inflation or the BYU academic “prowess.”

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GPAs are inflated everywhere though, so wouldn’t almost all university avg GPAs be inflated. With the last couple years (and maybe in the future) not requiring standardized tests, they’ll be looking even more at other factors. Standardized tests are a better playing field, but still full of problems as it favors affluency with test prep.

Great series on college from Freakonomics lately - the ‘prestige’ factor and elitism is alive and well for some institutions.

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Not to steer this in another direction, but most colleges in the past two years have abandoned the ACT and SAT as part of their admissions criteria. This was due largely to many parts of the nation not administering those tests because of Covid, but most schools I’ve talked to say they are unlikely to adopt it again - the common belief that those tests discriminate against those in poverty and those in minority groups.

Pretty fascinating in my estimation because it would seem like standardized testing could help identify a student living in poverty who struggles with his grades because he was to work all night but is bright and could excel in college. In other words, more data would lead to better decision.

But it also means that GPA manipulation will play a bigger part in kids trying to get into their school of preference. Pretty soon everyone will have a 4.0.

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It’s telling that byu excels in the highly subjective US News rankings based on their popularity. They have to be selective because they get a ton of applications since tuition is highly church subsidized and cheap. Anyone who has taken one of their so called “upper division” courses will soon discover that they are a complete joke. Meanwhile the rankings like QS put them appropriately low because they do in fact lack any measure of genuine academic rigor.

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I can tell everyone that BYU’s law school is masterful at pumping up it US News ranking. (That ranking is another story, but sadly, all US law schools worship it.) And @Guba is right–admission to BYU’s law school is competitive, and it get lots of applicants with high LSAT scores, because of the extraordinarily low church member tuition there. There’s a huge gap between their tuition and that of any other decent law school.

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@Scratch is noted to have said something like BYU has the highest caliber of student to quality of professor in the nation. Basically, lots of really smart LDS kids go to BYU for reasons mentioned above, but the quality of education does not match the quality of the student body.

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They have recently changed who they accept - rather than just starting at the top and moving down, they now put students in tiers/buckets and take the top students from each of those. Not sure how the tiers/buckets are formed, but I would guess a mix of academic numbers, extracurriculars (sports, music, leadership), work experience, etc. Not sure if they put in some other affirmative action figures in, but at least state is a factor (they more or less have a quota to make sure they get a mix across the country/world).

I know a few professors at BYU. Strange place to be one - the best don’t end up there or stay so you get LDS PhDs that may have been a professor somewhere else for a few years than get the ‘call home’. Recently had a friend that is an engineering professor at a state school (has a great research group, tenure, …) get recruited by BYU and they put a full court press on, but he turned it down. Good for him.

I was just talking about college choices with some friends at some grad parties and the BYU tilt is ugh in our church community culture. The ONLY thing I see going for it is the low cost. I kind of wish they raised the cost and subsidized based on need AND took very few in-state students. It could change the whole culture quickly. Oh, and Ricks/BYUI it and move all sports to intramurals.

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East Provo has plenty of good academics, grad programs, and undergraduate programs that are of high quality…and they always will. Any discipline where the LDS Church can keep the pursuits from going off the proverbial rails, that has earning potential, will be well funded and embraced, period. It’s a fairly common model for any number of parochial universities, corporate-private universities, and even more than a few State Universities. The fact Utah allowed the U to develop a tier 1 research institution was more an effect of the School outgrowing the state appropriation than any other thing.

The whole discussion functions simply to remind us nobody is as good as they think they are, and no one is as bad as we may like to think they are (even though we really want to). BYU will never be an elite, tier 1 research university. Conversely, Utah will always need to thank the magic that allowed the school to develop into the top tier institution it is (and continues to become). We could’ve easily been just another teaching university out in the flyover.

Why no talk about grade inflation? The top ice tends to play out like “immigration” where the dusty old farts complain about how easy, or process-wrong the system allowing them access has become. My guess is if we did a linear dive backward, we would see the same complaints back then as we see today for education. The difference - as public education as we know it is pretty new, the complaints would be coming from the well-heeled. :wink:

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Well-stated and true. But we still don’t like them!

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Especially when led by Rick Pitino or Tubby Smith knocking us out in the tournament in '93, '96, '97, '98, '03, '05 :wink:

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Touche. I should have said “TDS.”

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Some of this is true but as the U continues to focus on upgrading research facilities and attract more research money and top flight faculty and researchers, the school will continue to rise in the international rankings that matter. Joining the PAC-12 is also a factor as this affiliation naturally extends well beyond athletics. The cherry on top is inclusion in the AAU. The U has come a very long way academically from even when I first moved here in 2006. President Randall is going to continue to shepherd this academic rise.

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