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Dear William Paterson University Community,
On Friday, April 6, 2012, an article about New Jersey public universities misrepresenting the average SAT score of its incoming freshman class appeared in The Record newspaper. The article referenced Rowan University, Ramapo College, New Jersey City University and William Paterson University. I would like to provide an explanation for why William Paterson was included in the article.
Scrutiny about the SAT reporting practices of the state colleges and universities followed recent reports of inconsistent reporting of SAT numbers by Rowan.
William Paterson was noted in Friday’s Record article for misrepresenting the average SAT score of the incoming fall 2011 freshman class on one webpage, a few levels down in the undergraduate admissions website, where we describe the profile of the fall 2011 freshman class. On that particular page we include gender, race, New Jersey county of residence, high school range and SAT score. In the past, the University has reported on this webpage the average SAT scores and class rank for our regular admit students, which for fall 2011 were 1051 SAT and 61% class rank. We did this because it was the standard way that colleges and universities describe the type of student that is normally (i.e. without being placed into a special program) admitted into its freshman class. We do report our overall SAT score, which includes all students, to places like the U.S. Department of Education and to U.S. News and World Report. For fall 2011, the average SAT for all incoming full-time freshmen was 1008, an increase of over 20 points for all freshmen (from 986 to 1008) and by nearly 15 points for regular admit freshmen (from 1037 to 1051) since 2007.
We made the decision last year to report the overall SAT score and replace listings of the class rank with the high school grade point average – as class rank is not as commonly used in the high schools anymore – when we describe our incoming freshmen. We report both the regular and overall SAT average in our Fact Book, in the Admission Reports and in the reports presented to various campus organizations including the Board of Trustees. Unfortunately, we erred in not updating the Undergraduate Admissions website to include both regular and overall SAT averages as planned. As soon as we became aware of the oversight, we updated the site to include the overall SAT average and are working on including the average high school GPA. There is no excuse for not having this website updated earlier in the academic year. The site should have been made current and accurate in September.
I stand strongly behind a quote from me in Friday’s article in which I expressed how William Paterson values all of our students and that we are proud of who they are and what they accomplish. We are committed to representing all of our students in the profiles we print about them. I apologize for the oversight on the Admission webpage. In addition, I am sorry that this oversight caused William Paterson to be included in The Record article. As always, we are committed to clear and accurate reporting of all data.
Kristin E. Cohen
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