East Lyme school board to take up proposal to abolish class rank

East Lyme - The Board of Education will begin reviewing a proposal by high school Principal Michael Susi on Tuesday that would do away with class rank and adjust the formula it uses to determine a student's GPA.

Susi first brought the proposal to the school board's Academics, Athletics and Activities (AAA) Committee in February because he said the class rank system does not accurately represent academic achievement.

In some cases, the difference between a top-ranking student and a second-tier student is a fraction of a percentile point, yet an admissions officers at competitive colleges may overlook that second-tier student because of their focus on class ranking.

By eliminating class rank, the school would be asking colleges to focus on other data to evaluate applicants, including the rigor of classes taken, SAT or ACT scores, letters of recommendation and application essays, Susi has said.

"... the proposed changes will bring our practices more in line with competitive high schools and will give our graduates certain advantages when applying for college admission," Superintendent James D. Lombardo wrote in an April 18 letter to community members.

If approved, changes would apply to the incoming freshman class.

Eliminating student rankings is a move more and more high schools are making, especially competitive public high schools and private schools, according to the College Board, the company behind the SAT college entrance exams and the Advanced Placement (AP) program. More than half of all high schools no longer report rankings, and colleges no longer weigh class rank as heavily as they once did, the College Board said.

In Connecticut, the majority of school districts considered wealthier and more competitive than East Lyme - per the state's Education Reference Groups - do not report student rankings, Susi said.

j.cho@theday.com

If you go

Who: Board of Education

What: Discussion on eliminating class rank, modifying GPA calculation

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Room B101, East Lyme High School, 30 Chesterfield Road

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