By Adam Hartmann

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Arizona's high school students might have to take more classes to get into the three state universities under a plan slated for vote this week by the Arizona Board of Regents.

A task force created by the board has recommended that Arizona high school students take an extra year of laboratory science and mathematics, two years of a foreign language and one year from a menu including the arts, speech and social sciences in order to be fully qualified for admission to the state's universities.

In all, this would mean high school students would have to take three years of laboratory science, four years of mathematics, two years of social studies and now, two years of a foreign language, according to the report.

The panel recommends that the new requirements be implemented starting in 1997, to give high school students entering this year a chance to adjust to the new requirements.

But provosts from the state's universities have requested that the proposed requirements be delayed one year from their scheduled implementation if the board approves them.

Celestino Fernandez, University of Arizona academic outreach vice president, said he thought students would adjust to the new requirements.

"We believe that it is certainly feasible," Fernandez said. "We have learned that students who come in with deficiencies in the basic subjects, their likelihood of succeeding is much lower."

And J.D. Garcia, Faculty Chairman, said the requirements would help high school students better understand the skills they would need in college.

"We shouldn't pretend that everyone who walks in our door can get a degree," Garcia said. "By raising the admissions requirements, you eliminate some of the need for extra preparation of some students."

But C. Diane Bishop, state superintendent of public instruction, said that simply adding more classes to the high school workload may not mean these would be more quality classes.

"All you're going to see is a transcript with more classes listed on it," she said. "All kinds of things masquerade as four years of mathematics. There's no control over course content, what those course titles represent."

Bishop said she would rather use tests to determine students' aptitude rather than relying on high school performance.

Loyd Bell, UA admissions director, said the university studied its 1992 freshman class and found that the more units students took in high school, the better they performed at the UA.

He said that the number, rather than the quality, of high school units is the best indicator of college performance.

Garcia said he would like to see the university cooperate with high schools to find better ways to prepare students for college.

"We're not in a position to fix all of K-12," he said. "It's a message to high schools as well as it is a requirement. With that message, then the other part of the system can begin to fix itself." Read Next Article