We need more cords!

The urgent e-mail message from the St. Louis campus to an assistant dean read:

"We need more MFT cords. We had six students take the MFT last week and score above 90 percent, and five are graduating!"

This message was triggered by the increasing number of Columbia College students racking up stellar scores on the Major Field Test. A good score qualifies a student to wear a special blue and silver cord in the graduation ceremony. The MFT tests are two-hour, nationally normed exams in 16 academic disciplines administered to more than 100,000 students in over 800 colleges last year alone. The MFT tests, developed by the Educational Testing Service, are administered to seniors as part of Columbia College’s ongoing effort to evaluate the effectiveness of bachelor's degree programs.

In late July, 36 St. Louis campus students received bachelor's degrees in business administration and seven in criminal justice. Statistically, three to four business majors and one in criminal justice would score in the top 10 percent nationally, but the St. Louis campus had 10 (28 percent) and three (43 percent) in the top 10 percent, respectively.

This showing speaks volumes about the quality of students, faculty and programs at the St. Louis campus. But St. Louis is no statistical fluke: an amazing 75 percent of business administration majors at the Freeport, Ill., campus scored in the 90th percentile and four scored in the 95th percentile.

A mere Midwestern aberration? Hardly. Consider Elena Hartsell, who recently earned dual bachelor’s degrees in psychology and in business administration from the San Luis Obispo, Calif., campus. Hartsell had the highest Columbia College MFT score in our history, scoring 194 of 200 in business, in the top 1 percentile of all students nationwide; and in the top 97 percentile in psychology. Her GPA? 4.0., of course.

Dr. Terry Smith, executive vice president and dean for academic affairs, said, "We have long known that we have excellent students and a quality program, but these continuing remarkable results further validate that knowledge.”