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STEM Students to Receive a GPA Boost

Physic students work on an experiment during lab.Beginning fall semester there will be more incentive for students who take rigorous science, technology, pre-engineering, and mathematics classes at Dalton State.

State legislators passed a bill that goes into effect this year allowing schools to give students a half-point grade boost in some STEM classes, which could mean more students remain eligible for HOPE while also making more students eligible to graduate with honors.

“We hope this will be an incentive for students to choose more STEM majors and graduate to fill high-demand jobs,” said Dr. Randall Griffus, dean of the School of Science, Technology, and Mathematics. “I hope it helps with retention in these programs as well. There is a lot of rigor in these classes. It will include most of our introductory STEM classes. Most of our classes required for our pre-engineering program will also receive the boost.”

STEM enrollment is up at Dalton State. From spring 2016 to this semester there is a 5.4 percent increase in majors in those fields, Griffus said.

If a student has a grade of B, C, or D, .5 will be added to the final grade. That means, a B, which is a 3.0 would become a 3.5 when calculating the student’s overall GPA. A C would go from a 2.0 to a 2.5, and a D would go from a 1.0 to a 1.5.

“More of our students should be able to retain HOPE with this boost,” Griffus said. “For students in a STEM field, half of the classes they need for an associate degree are eligible for the boost. So this could make a large impact on their overall GPA.”  

The weighted grades for STEM classes only apply to those courses typically taken in the first two years of college. At Dalton State this includes introductory biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, physics, and programming courses, as well as all the calculus and pre-engineering courses.

“Georgia's commitment to addressing the workforce needs of the state is at the core of this initiative,” said Dr. Pat Chute, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “Dalton State College's close ties with community partners in areas supported by STEM careers will make this change one that provides students with more access and better knowledge and skills to become successful citizens.”

Dalton State students have many opportunities in the STEM fields, including internships and undergraduate research. The School of Science, Technology, and Mathematics also works with local industry to continue providing graduates who can fill open positions.

“Because these STEM career fields are important to the manufacturing region we serve, we are proud that this may assist more of our students in earning degrees in these high demand career fields,” said Dr. Margaret Venable, president of the College.