Software snarls students scores (WI) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Published Tuesday, February 1, 2000

Software snarls student scores


OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) -- A new computer system is blamed for a foul-up that allows University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh students to stay in school even though their grades are unsatisfactory.

Countless students can return for the spring semester because software does not reliably disclose their low scholastic averages that ordinarily could lead to suspension.

It cannot be determined how many students would have been eligible for suspension " but there could be several hundred students who have this loophole, " Registrar Dan Edlebeck said.

The problem applies to students who transferred from other universities and colleges, representing about one-fourth to one-third of the undergraduates, Edlebeck said.

Oshkosh employees were unable to download records of students from the old computer system to the new system before the semester' s end, said John Berens, assistant vice chancellor of information technology.

For two years, Oshkosh has been converting student records to a new software system called PeopleSoft. The conversion is costing more than $4 million.

The transfer was delayed because computer programmers had to spend much of the semester fixing problems after the software was installed, Berens said.

The Madison campus had a problem last spring trying to produce grade records on time.

Cleveland State University has spent nearly $10 million on new software and was unable to provide some students with financial aid checks.

At Oshkosh, students who do not maintain a 2-point grade-point average (GPA) for three consecutive semesters or whose semester GPA falls below 1 point can be suspended for one semester.

Some individual programs, including graduate programs, have more stringent guidelines.

Currently the university is unable to calculate accurate GPAs for all students.

The university mailed letters during the Christmas recess to undergraduates, explaining the problem and asking them to report voluntarily to their advisers if their GPAs were low.

" We determined the best thing to do was say up front that we won' t do the calculations this one time and tell students that it' s still their responsibility to pay attention to their grades and their coursework and to work with advisers if they' re having problems, " Berens said.

" It doesn' t matter because I already know I have to do better this semester, " freshman Katie Bea of Milwaukee said.

Many students have visited their advisers, Edlebeck said.

" The letters generated quite a response, " he said.

The transfer of information should be complete by February or March, Berens said.

-- Homer Beanfang (, February 01, 2000

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