District 214 could eliminate class rank
Northwest Suburban High School District 214 officials will discuss eliminating class rank when the school board meets later this week.
The possible move comes after several other Northwest suburban districts have eliminated ranking systems over the past few years, a trend with which board President Jim Perkins said District 214 is falling in line.
"It's so competitive among students at our schools that students tend to take courses simply to raise their (grade-point average)," Perkins said. "We've heard of students who will drop an extracurricular like band so they can take an AP course because they wouldn't get the same amount of credit for that regular course."
Other districts that have eliminated class rank in recent years include Stevenson District 125, Naperville District 204, Maine Township High School District 207, Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 and Palatine-Schaumburg Township High School District 211.
District 214 discussed class rank in 2010, with Superintendent Dave Schuler saying then that a student with a B average could easily rank in the bottom 50 percent of the class because of the size and competitiveness of several of the high schools in the district.
After that discussion, the board decided to change to a quartile system, showing students where they fall in terms of the top 25 percent of their class, top half and so on.
But Perkins said the competitiveness has continued to affect students' course selections. He supports eliminating rankings so students will have a weighted and unweighed GPA that shows progress but not know where they stand among their peers.
"Then you can set your own goals for yourself and not allow your ranking to dictate anything in terms of course selection," he said.
It is not yet clear whether the change, if approved, would be immediate or phased in over several years.
District 214 is the second-largest high school district in the state, with more than 12,000 students at Hersey, Prospect, Rolling Meadows, Buffalo Grove, Wheeling and Elk Grove high schools.
School board members will discuss the proposed change during their meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday. It could come back as an item to be voted on at the next meeting, March 15.