A task force is being formed to study whether to eliminate class rank for Lyons Township High School students.
The School Board reviewed findings Jan. 21 from the Community Advisory Council, which recommended academic ranking be abolished because it hurts students more than it helps.
“Twenty years ago, class rank was among the top two factors for college admission,” said Superintendent Tim Kilrea in presenting the advisory group’s report. “In recent years, it’s gone down to fourth or fifth in importance.”
The council urged that a policy be adopted to benefit the greatest number of students, including those who perform well academically, but do not receive a top rank, due to various factors.
“There are students who do very well and are in the 50th percentile, so they’re not looked at by some schools,” Kilrea said.
Before making a recommendation, a task force of students, staff, parents and administrators will consider admissions feedback from a cross section of colleges, including highly selective schools.
Students will be asked whether removal of class rank would influence their selection of classes. The task force also will look at how it would affect competition among students and the impact on reducing student stress.
The task force also will examine criteria to select a class valedictorian, the impact on student scholarships and any legal implications.
“If we are doing a transition, it will probably begin with the incoming freshman class and should have well articulated communication,” Kilrea said.
The advisory council also recommended the task force avoid a prolonged deliberation.”
We have been talking about this for years; it’s time to take action,” the report said.
Board President Mark Pera said it’s likely the task force could make a recommendation in March for the board’s consideration in April.
Scott Eggerding, director of curriculum and instruction who will oversee the task force, said if a change is adopted, it’s unlikely it would be implemented in the fall with a new class of freshmen. But the possibility remains open, he said.
“There are schools who have done this, and we can learn from them if they would change anything and how to address that,” Kilrea said.