Class Rank Discussions.

At a recent CLC principal’s meeting, I learned about what some schools are doing to improve their class ranking processes, and we have begun some discussions with our faculty to understand and test the impact of these ideas. We want to keep parents informed about these discussions in the hope of hearing your views as well. Ultimately, how we calculate class rank is a matter of Board policy, so any decisions would be made at that level and would be implemented with some delay, but at this point we simply want to explore some interesting ideas that may lead to improvements.

For some time now, many schools have used ACT scores and Strength of Schedule measures to break ties, especially for Valedictorian and Salutatorian. More recently, schools have begun to include some of these measures in the ranking process. (Actually, many schools who used weighted grades have included a strength of schedule measure in their rankings for some time as well.) Admittedly, we are intrigued by the idea of including ACT scores and a form of Strength of Schedule measure in our ranking because it would support our school goals of improving our students’ college and career readiness as measured by the ACT. We also believe that when students take rigorous college level classes while in high school, and do well in them, those students are well prepared for college or technical training programs.

With this in mind, we are studying a class rank process that would combine grade point average (GPA) with a Strength of Schedule measure and ACT scores. These student scores would be compared against a standard—such as their ACT score as a percentage of the perfect ACT score(36)— versus against their peers.

Our motivation in studying and discussing this sort of change is not only that it would likely produce a more complete and equitable ranking formula, but it would also reinforce the types of student/parent decisions that are good for learning. Including Strength of Schedule measures would encourage students to take challenging courses that–absent this measure in the rankings–are sometimes avoided to protect GPAs. And including ACT scores, which we are focused on improving in all of our students, would remind students that the ACT score is still the best measure we have of their preparation for the future.

If you have thoughts on this subject or would like to share your perspective, please give me a call at (920)564-2346 x1001. It would be great to hear from parents on this subject.