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Albemarle County School Board Considers Ending Class Rankings

By: Ruth Morton Email
By: Ruth Morton Email

October 10, 2013

Albemarle County schools may end class rankings.

The Albemarle County School Board discussed ending ranking high school students starting this or next school year on Thursday night.

More than half of schools don't report rankings, or how a student's GPA rates within his or her class.

Not ranking students allows high-performing schools, such as those in Albemarle County, not to put students who rank outside the top ten percent at a disadvantage when applying to colleges.

"Some parents have brought up I think what's a legitimate concern...that we have so many strong students in Albemarle County, we might have a student that's not in the top ten percent...that in almost any other division in the state, would be in the top ten percent. So, are we penalizing our students as they apply to colleges?" said board chair Steve Koleszar.

Kolezar added that the board also doesn't want to penalize students who are in top ten percent.

"It's something that we feel that we want to calculate, that we want to honor students that are in the top ten percent," he said.

During a presentation, Albemarle Assistant Superintendent Billy Haun explained that colleges he talked to say they look for a "holistic" measure of a student when considering an application. Haun said they look at the rigor of a schedule, preferring five or six AP classes, along with GPA, extracurricular activities, the essay, among other factors.

Kolezar agreed that regardless of a college's familiarity with Albemarle schools, they can use these measures to gauge a student's success should he or she attend.

"They do have a clue in terms of the strength of the transcript and how many AP courses a person has taken, how broad their experiences are, what their outside activities [are]," said Koleszar.

The county would continue to report rankings when applications require it. Examples of situations that require rankings are applications to military academies, honors programs, and some scholarships.

The board heard information about and discussed the topic Thursday night but did not vote. It will vote in November.

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