St. Charles schools consider ending class ranking system
Why St. Charles Dist. 303 board wants to get rid of them
Getting straight B's looks pretty good on a report card but not so good in terms of class rank in St. Charles Unit District 303.
A school board committee learned Tuesday a B student wouldn't even fall into the top half of the class rankings. And now school board members may do away with the ranking system altogether.
The district's two high school principals joined district administrators in recommending the abolition of the ranking system after the Class of 2016 graduates.
The class ranking system tends to create an atmosphere where students frequently try to "game" the system, said St. Charles North High School Principal Audra Christenson. For instance, a student may choose to take a class on a pass/fail basis instead of a letter grade in fear of dropping in the class rankings.
Fourteen area schools the district considers its peers, including those in Naperville Unit District 203, Stevenson High School, Geneva High School and New Trier, all banished their class ranking systems in recent years. Principals also said both Ivy League and colleges in Illinois, both public and private, mostly don't factor in a student's class rank during the competitive admissions process.
"It's based more on rigor and grades," Christenson said. "They would rather see more students enrolled in more vigorous courses, regardless of the grade, rather than someone who hasn't challenged themselves."
There are still some colleges, such as the various military academies, that want to know a potential student's class rank. Some parents might want to know how their child compares to her peers as well.
To accommodate that, the district staff said it will still make the class rankings available but only upon such a request. The district will also publish a cutoff score for what a student's grade-point average must be to fall within the top 5 percent of the class.
School board members did not voice any major objections to the proposed change. Board member Kathy Hewell suggested ending the class ranking system might also warrant the end of pass/fail classes. The board may consider that suggestion at a later date.
The full board is expected to approve ending the class ranking system with the 2016 graduating class later this month.
Rank: Full board expected to approve change later this month