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FOCUS GROUP. Taking A Look At Class Rank. How Did We Get Here?. 2004-05 school year high school administrators reviewed the grade weighting scale. Key points: Weighted grade scale should provide an accurate picture of student performance in the context of the difficulty of the course.

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FOCUS GROUP

Taking A Look At Class Rank.


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How Did We Get Here?

  • 2004-05 school year high school administrators reviewed the grade weighting scale.

  • Key points:

    • Weighted grade scale should provide an accurate picture of student performance in the context of the difficulty of the course.

    • A new scale was developed on a 4 point scale for level 2 (college preparatory) courses.

    • Additional weight is given to zero level, honors level and advanced placement courses.


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How Did We Get Here?

  • We Asked The Following Questions:

    • Why do we weight grades?

    • How do colleges view our weighted G.P.A.?

    • What is the value of class rank?

    • How does it truly impact our students?

  • Sought information on national practices from the professional organization, NACAC, consisting of high school and college admission counselors.

  • We conducted a survey of college admissions professionals (Fall 2006).

    Survey says…………………..


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The Survey

  • A survey was conducted with college representatives during their visits to the college and career center.

  • 69 schools responded to the survey

    • 26 most and highly competitive schools

    • 43 very, competitive and less competitive schools

  • Questions

    • Do you look at a student’s class rank on their transcript?

    • How do you use the given ranking?

    • Do you use your own ranking system?

    • How are unranked students compared to students with ranking?

    • How would the omission of class rank effect our student’s applications?

    • How does your school work with weighted and un-weighted G.P.A.’S?


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Do You Look At A Student’s Class Rank On Their Transcript?

23%

77%


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How Do You Use A Student’s Class Rank?




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How Does Your School Translate Applications?Weighted And Un-Weighted G.P.A.’s?



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What Do Other Schools Do? (cont.) Applications?

CURRENTLY LOOKING AT ELIMINATING CLASS RANK



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Additional School Data: Applications?

  • 92% of CT parochial high schools

    do not report class rank.

  • 100% of CT private high schools do not report class rank.

    Per Director of Guidance, Newtown High School


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G.P.A. and Class Rank Distribution Applications?

Class of 2006


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Research From NACAC Applications?National Association for College Admission Counseling

  • Betty Sternberg, former Commissioner of Education, said that the trend of eliminating class rank is most noticeable among high-achieving suburban high schools (2002) she stated that elimination of class rank is a proposal worth serious consideration as the state moves forward with its model of the “new CT high school” (2002). After a year on sabbatical interviewing high school students, she also said that “they aren’t thinking about what interests them, they’re thinking about how to strategically place themselves, and that’s kind of sad.”

  • Colleges find that the trend to eliminate class rank has made it more difficult to sort through data. As a result, colleges are assigning their own class rank.

  • Some colleges say that eliminating class rank causes them to make less informed decisions and to overemphasize standardized test scores.


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Research From NACAC (cont.) Applications?National Association for College Admission Counseling

  • We have not ranked since the Class of 1981 and it has certainly not hurt our kids. The reasons were both philosophic and pragmatic:

    • We don't believe in comparing our kids with each other but are committed to presenting each in the best light.

    • We found that the difference between our top-ranked student and the student ranked 50th or 60th was often a hundredth of a decimal point; we didn't find this  to be a meaningful distinction of caliber of student.

  • The difference in rank between two adjacent students in a senior class may be no more than a few hundredths of a point, and the school feels that no good discrimination can be made between them.


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Research From NACAC (cont.) Applications?National Association for College Admission Counseling

  • Many high-performing schools feel rank actually hurts their students.  A student who graduated 30th out of a class of 600 from a school where 20% of the students go to Ivy League schools is probably well prepared for college.  When you compare that student to a student who graduated 30th in a class of 600 where only 50% of the students attend four-year colleges, you can see why some schools have moved away from ranking.

  • In our first year away from class rank, we saw no change in our overall acceptance rate, but we saw significant increases in acceptances to more competitive institutions.  I don't think its just wise for high performing schools, but in my experience, I have found it to be helpful for the high performing students in general not to be hampered by rank.


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Research From NACAC (cont.) Applications?National Association for College Admission Counseling

  • One highly selective college I worked at was sensitive to ranking - it was tough to convince the committee to admit a kid ranked 40th in a class of 400 when we already denied the #8 kid applying from the same school, unless they were a recruited athlete, legacy, etc...even then, it made us rethink our denial of the #8 kid...At Pomona, I really don't see this phenomenon, even with an admit rate of 17%!

  • At my previous school -- very high achieving Bellarmine in San Jose (www.bcp.org) -- we stopped reporting rank about 12 years ago.  We had so many excellent students in the 2nd and 3rd decile who were/would be torpedoed by rank at selective colleges that we thought it definitely unfair to them.  Some colleagues at similar schools were told that students would have been accepted if no rank had been reported.


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Focus Group Questions: Applications?

  • What additional questions remain regarding class rank?

  • What is your opinion regarding ranking our students’?


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