Undergraduate
GPAs of Mason Students, May 2005

The
Faculty Senate Executive Committee requested that the Registrar provide a
distribution of undergraduate Grade Point Averages as of the end of May 2005,
as shown below:

__GPA
Range__ __Count__ __Percentage__

4.00 1,049 6.39

3.75
to 3.99 1,312 8.00

3.50
to 3.74 1,951 11.89

3.25
to 3.49 1,946 11.86

3.00
to 3.24 2,260 13.77

2.50
to 2.99 3,148 19.18

2.00
to 2.49 2,170 13.22

1.50
to 1.99 1,027 6.26

1.49
and below 1,546 9.42

Note
that roughly one out of every sixteen undergraduates has a perfect GPA (4.00);
51.91 percent have a GPA of 3.00 or more (B or better); 32.4 percent have a GPA
between 2.00 and 2.99 (B- to C+); and 15.68 percent have a GPA of 1.99 and
below (unsatisfactory, C-, D, and F).

It
is interesting that Princeton Review’s,
*The Best 361 Colleges* (2006 Edition), which ranks George Mason as
first in “Diversity”, also ranks GMU as 15 from the top in students who say
that they “(almost) never study.” The editors of Princeton Review asked 110,000
students at the 361 colleges “How many out-of-class hours do you spend studying
each day?” and, from the responses, created a list of colleges ranked by “Their
Students (Almost) Never Study.”

This
characterization of Mason students may seem extreme, but consider the
information on student activities collected by GMU’s Institutional Assessment
Office for 2002 from a survey of graduating seniors (more recent data are not
available, but it seems unlikely that major changes have occurred in just three
years). For the detailed data, see:

http://www.assessment.gmu.edu/results/GSS/2003/GSS_webversion_02_03.pdf

The
Instutional Assessment Office reports that the vast majority of Mason students
work (83.4%) and, for those who work, the average number of hours per week is
27.2, and 57.9 percent work 21 hours or more each week. Factor in additional
time for commuting to and from the University, to and from work, and to and
from “home,” and considerable time on average is spent working and commuting.

Consider
also the number of hours spent “partying/socializing.” Among those who party,
the average number of hours spent weekly partying and socializing is 11.8;
nearly one-third (32.5%) of Mason students spend 11 or more hours each week
partying and socializing. [One can only speculate about whether “socializing”
includes the not inconsiderable time that students spend on their cell phones.]

What
about time spent studying? More than
40 percent reported spending 10 hours per week or less studying and completing
assignments. The average number of weekly hours spent studying was 17.7 -- far
less than the average number of hours worked for pay each week. About one-third
(32.7%) indicated spending between 11 and 20 hours per week on classwork. Thus,
more than 72 percent of Mason students reported spending more time on average
at work than doing classwork.

There are only so many hours in the day and, for GMU students, some time must be spent in going to class. Rather surprisingly, one in five students (20.2 percent) claims to spend between 19 and 21 hours per week attending classes and labs. The average time spent attending classes and labs was 13.7 hours per week.

If
we contrast the average time spent weekly working for pay (27.2 hours) plus the
average time spent each week socializing and partying (11.8 hours) [Total =
39.0 hours] with the average weekly hours spent studying (17.7 hours) plus the
average time spent attending class each week (13.7) [Total = 31.4 hours], the
average time spent on academic pursuits each week is significantly less than
the average time spent working, partying, and socializing.

In
sum, given the time that the average Mason student gives to academic work and
classes and the competing commitments to work (and, additionally, to commuting
and cell phone chatting), partying, and socializing, it is remarkable that more
than half of Mason students have GPAs of 3.00 and better.

A
detailed study of GMU’s Academic Standards was undertaken by a Faculty Senate
Task Force on Academic Standards which was established in 2002 and reported its
findings in November 2003. That report can be accessed at:

http://www.gmu.edu/facstaff/senate/TF%20on%20Academic%20Standards.pdf

The
Executive Committee hopes that you will find this information of interest and
thanks Susan Jones, Registrar, for her cooperation.