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ECHHS: \Class Rank Should Go

ECHHS: \Class Rank Should Go

ECHHS principal David Thaden said class rank is not a good indicator of the students' abilities because many ECHHS pupils are being disqualified from competitive colleges because the quality of the school system is so high.

"We have a strong suspicion that the kids from the bottom half of the top third of the class are dropped from the initial stages of the college admission process," Thaden said. "We think that the kids are grouped into a percentage and are not evaluated as individuals."

The state of North Carolina requires that all public high schools use the same Student Information Management System. The system automatically places class rank on all transcripts.

Last winter, ECHHS submitted a request for a waiver that would drop class rank from transcripts. The request was approved by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education and then submitted to the Department of Public Instruction. The waiver was then sent to UNC-system officials for review.

Thaden said the school expects an official decision to be rendered this spring, but an exact date was not given. But he also said school officials have been told by several sources that there was no chance it could be approved. "We were informally told that there is no way to grant this," Thaden said. "We don't have the authority to do it unilaterally."

Charles Coble, UNC-system vice president of university and school programs, said the state board would have to review the rationale and the impact of the request before reaching a decision. "I doubt the board will simply give its approval. It will be precedent setting, and they'll want to make sure they have all the information," he said.

Thaden said that students who take advanced classes wouldn't suffer from the new system. "The students who take Advanced Placement classes would still get extra points on their (grade point average)," Thaden said. "We aren't doing away with the GPA system."

The waiver originally was proposed by an elected committee that represents students, parents and faculty, where it received "unanimous support."

School board member Elizabeth Carter said the board was in support of the waiver when it was proposed last year and that she thinks that it could only help the students.

Some private schools, such as N.C. School of Science and Math, are not required by the state to use the N.C. Student Information Management system.

If granted, the waiver will directly affect next year's graduating class. Students' class ranks will be eliminated from their transcripts when they apply to college.

Thaden said not including class rank on student transcripts will ensure a more fair college admission process.

"We have a lot of qualified kids. We hope that they won't be examined as just a percentage."

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