266 Freshmen Get Fifth-Week Warnings; Flags Increase From Last Year

CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE: Because of an editing error, the headline for the Oct. 30, 2007 news article on fifth-week flags gave an inaccurate number. As reported in the article itself, 233 freshmen received flags this year, not 266 as listed in the headline.

Fifth-week flags have been sent to 233 freshmen who may be in danger of failing a class. This 21.8 percent warning rate is an increase from 17.5 percent in Fall 2006 and 18.3 percent in Fall 2005. About six percent, or 66 students, received more than one flag.

The increase in flags is no reason to worry, said Julie B. Norman, senior associate dean and director of the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming, who attributes this year’s numbers to normal variance. “I am not aware of any outstanding issues with the freshman class,” she said. Norman cites 20 percent as the average number of freshmen who are flagged each year.

After the fifth week of the term, instructors are supposed to compile a list of freshmen in their classes who are either currently failing or are in danger of doing so. Norman said that the flags were evenly distributed among the typical classes freshmen take. Once a student is flagged, the student’s advisor and Norman are both notified.

The flagged student is then sent an e-mail offering assistance, ranging from tutoring to mental health services. “The most important part is how flagged students respond,” said Norman.

In the end, most flagged students pass the classes they are flagged for, as 84 percent did in Fall 2006. Norman said she was optimistic that this year’s students will achieve the same level of success.