Students in Maine Township High School District 207 will no longer have their class ranks routinely listed on transcripts or other documents.
The District 207 school board voted 6-0 Tuesday night to eliminate class rankings from transcripts and other documents, unless students or their parents decide to have it listed.
The move came at the suggestion of Barbara Dill-Varga, the assistant superintendent for curriculum, who said that in most cases, not listing a class rank is to students’ advantage when it comes to applying for college.
“What we want is a ‘do no harm’ proposal,’” Dill-Varga said.
Board member Edward Mueller, who spoke last month against eliminating class rank, did not attend the meeting.
Dill-Varga estimated that nationally, at least half of all high schools have stopped listing class ranks on student transcripts. In the Chicago suburbs, New Trier High School District 203, Stevenson High School District 125, and Glenbrook High School District 225 have already made the move.
In her recommendation to remove class rank from transcripts, Dill-Varga said that the district would provide information to students and parents about why not listing class rank might be helpful to them, she said.
Board member Joanna Braam said the district should give the information directly to parents, because students do not always pass information along.
“When we started looking at colleges with our first daughter, it was a lot of information to absorb,” Braam said.
Cutting class rank from student transcripts would reduce the emphasis on very small differences in grade point averages, reduce the advantage of students coming from less competitive high schools, discourage competition between students and make students more likely to choose classes based on their interests instead of their effect on class rank, Dill-Varga said.
Studies conducted by several school districts that have made the same move found that students’ chances of getting into a variety of colleges were not hurt by eliminating class rank from their transcripts, she said.
Some parents spoke at the May school board meeting, saying that students with very high class ranks might want to have their ranks listed.
Having a way for students to “opt in” to have their class ranks listed – most likely by a check box on the district’s internet portal for students – would eliminate any difficulties for students who need to have their class ranks listed for certain colleges or scholarships. The district already allows students to choose which, if any, standardized test scores to list on their transcripts.