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D-304 drops class rank in favor of GPA distribution

Published: Monday, Aug. 11, 2014 10:08 p.m. CDT

GENEVA – Geneva High School seniors will be the last class to have a class rank, as the Geneva District 304 school board voted Monday to drop individual class ranking in favor of a grade point average distribution statistic.

The change would affect this year’s juniors and all the classes after that, officials said.

The high school administration studied the issue for two years, asking how colleges and universities use them and if its students would be negatively impacted if it was no longer reported, officials said.

Twenty-eight suburban districts – including New Trier Township High School District  203, Main Township High School District 207 and Barrington High School in District 220 – all do not report students’ individual class rank, officials said.

Also, colleges and university reported that even when the ranking is on a student’s application, it is not used in admissions decisions, officials said.

Geneva High School Principal Tom Rogers said dropping class ranking can reduce unhealthy competition among high-achieving students whose grade point averages are a hundredth of a point. At the same time, it can open up other opportunities for students, he said.

“Our attempt to eliminate that unhealthy competition – we want students to take courses and challenge themselves for all the right reasons,” Rogers said. “Rather than not challenging themselves because they don’t want to sacrifice potential rank that they might have earned.”

For example, some students will not challenge themselves in an advanced placement course where they risk a B grade – while others might not take an art course for the same reason, officials said.

“All colleges that we surveyed said they don’t use it, we don’t want to do anything that would hinder their ability to get into that school,” Rogers said. “As we examined our class rank compared to the percentage rank that we are going to use, using the GPA distribution will enhance the standings of our students when they go to apply to a university.”

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