The practice of ranking students based on grade-point average will be fully eliminated at all Schaumburg-Palatine District 211 schools by the time current sophomores are seniors.
The Board of Education voted last week to discontinue class rank after a district committee researched the practice and found that for the majority of students, ranking either has no impact or a perceived negative impact.
"What we discovered is that it actually could be more of a negative influence than a positive influence," said Superintendent Nancy Robb.
The committee found that the growing national trend among high schools is to discontinue ranking students and that according to the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, only about 23 percent of college admissions offices take a student's class rank into consideration.
"We have, on occasion, received feedback from parents," added Samantha Dolen, assistant superintendent for student services. "Most of the parents that we have heard from would support this decision."
The committee noted that sometimes students with a GPA above a 2.0, or better than a B average, still fell in the bottom half of their class.
Class rank will be discontinued in a two-phase process. Beginning in the 2012-13 school year, rankings will be removed from report cards and transcripts. However, students in the class of 2013 will have the option to report their class rank on college or scholarship applications.
Beginning with the class of 2014, ranking students by GPA will be completely eliminated.
Students were not consulted before the decision was made.
"I guess I would have been curious to find out what the students thought of this," said board member Anna Klimkowicz. "Maybe, you know, in the future when we do things like this let's see if we could get input from the kids to find out what their thoughts are behind this. Sometimes they have really good thoughts and suggestions."
Instead of annually naming two sets of "top 25 honors" students -- one for weighted GPA based on the level of courses taken and another for non-weighted -- the district will now recognize academic scholars.
Robb said students will need to reach a certain level non-weighted or weighted GPA, which will soon be recommended to the board by the committee, in order to receive the designation.
The naming of a valedictorian and salutatorian will not be affected, as the practice was eliminated in 1998.
Earlier this fall, Maine Township High School District 207 eliminated class rank. Last year, District 214 discontinued the traditional class ranking system and replaced it with a "quartile system" that places students into four groups -- top 25 percent, top 50 percent, 50 to 75 percent and bottom 25 percent. Barrington Area Unit District 220 phased out class rank in 2008.