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Female students consistently earn higher grade points

Kaitlen Lang entered the library, her backpack overflowing with textbooks and snacks. She settled at a table, her headphones playing instrumental music as she prepared for four to five hours of studying.

The Auburn Hills senior is a biology major who earned a 4.0 grade point average last semester. She estimates she studies 35 to 50 hours a week in addition to helping teach a chemistry course twice a week.

The Office of Institutional Research’s annual reports of on-campus undergraduate grade point averages showed the overall student grade point average has been slightly increasing since 2011.

The report also showed also female students received a higher GPA than men.

“In order to receive recognition or be taken seriously, I do have to work harder (than men). Any work I turn in or produce, I want to make sure it’s my best work because I wouldn’t feel good if I didn’t put complete effort in,” Lang said. “They critique women harder (in STEM), so you have to make sure you have good work.”

The average GPA of female Central Michigan University students since 2011 was a 3.17 while CMU men averaged a 2.85.

Frimpomaa Ampaw said this might be because men are often in more difficult majors like science and mathematics.

“One of the biggest things I’ve talked about is math preparation in high school,” said the educational leadership associate professor and interim department chairperson. “A lot of females aren’t socialized well into mathematics."

Research shows one of the biggest predictors of GPA is the student’s major and minor, while the other is academic preparation when coming into college, she said.

Greek Life

While the average CMU student’s spring 2015 cumulative GPA was 3.03, the average fall 2015 cumulative GPA of Greek Life members was 3.05.

Greek Life members have required study hours per semester per week to be completed to keep their GPAs up.

The Office of Student Activities and Involvement requires a 2.50 cumulative GPA to participate in Greek Life. Each chapter typically elects an official who tracks members academic performance and contacts them if it dips below the requirement.

“There is a tendency for the public to scrutinize Greek Life based on negative stereotypes that are perpetuated through popular media, so members of the Greek Community work hard to prove those people wrong,” said Mount Pleasant freshman Katie Zwick.

Delta Phi Epsilon, Zwick's sorority, uses an app called "My Greek Study" to log her required study hours. She turns on the app when she’s in “studious” locations like the library or Kaya Coffee Shop and it automatically begins to log how long she’s been there.

She said the hours required to be completed depend on member GPA. The lower the GPA, the more hours needed to log.

“There are a couple of issues with the practicality of it. How do you know that sisters are actually studying when they have their study hours turned on?” Zwick said. “However, I do think overall it's the best way to hold sisters accountable for maintaining their grades.”

Zwick has a GPA between 3.0 and 3.4, making her study requirement three hours a week.

Freshman to senior year

The average freshman received a 2.86 in spring 2015. The average senior received an average of 3.14.

Anpaw said the difference could be because upperclassmen are often taking classes specific to their major, peaking their interest, while freshmen are taking standard university classes.

“Freshman year has been explained as a change in learning. They have to get used to the university and understand what it’s about,” Anpaw said. “When you’re an upperclassman, you’re taking classes that actually interest you.”