Changes to class rank in Plum to begin next year
Mike Doyle isn't certain of his daughter's academic rank in her sophomore class at Plum High School.
Doyle, who also is the president of Plum Council, said he became alarmed when he found out that beginning with the 2014-15 school year, the practice of class rank is being eliminated in the Plum School District.
“My concern is my daughter is interested in a pre-med school,” Doyle said during a recent education committee meeting.
“If the admissions officer has 500 applications and some have the class rank and some don't, you are creating another step for the admissions officer to have to call (the high school) to find out the information.”
According to the revised policy approved by the Plum School Board in 2012, class rank will be calculated for internal purposes only and will not be placed on student transcripts, nor will they be released to students, parents or institutes of higher education unless in the view of the principal or guidance counselor failure to do so would jeopardize the student's opportunity for a financial scholarship or college acceptance.
High school Principal Ryan Kociela said various factors were considered in the decision.
Kociela said class rank can be misleading because even students with a 4.0 grade-point average could be overshadowed by students who have higher GPAs because of an advanced class schedule.
Also, students were trying to take certain classes to boost their GPAs.
And class rank is used more infrequently by college and university admissions departments as a factor in determining a student's acceptance.
Kociela said other high schools in the area — including Quaker Valley, Mt. Lebanon and Bethel Park — have eliminated class rank.
According to a recent report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, more than half of all high schools no longer report student rankings, according to the College Board.
Most small private and competitive high schools have done away with it because they feel it penalizes many excellent students who are squeezed out of the top 10 percent of the class and then overlooked by elite colleges, the report said.
Although most public high schools still rank students, some now make it optional for students to report their rankings to colleges.
“The purpose is not to hurt our kids,” Kociela said.
“We want to help and put our kids at an advantage. And parents will have access (to class rank).”
Doyle said he is OK with the district's decision about class rank as long as the information is available to parents if they want to know it.
The Plum School District for the 2014-15 school year will eliminate the designation of valedictorian and salutatorian.
Kociela said next year's graduation will feature speeches from the two outstanding seniors in the Class of 2015 rather than has been the tradition for the speeches to be delivered by the valedictorian and salutatorian.
Kociela said members of the student government are putting together criteria for the speeches.
“We will make sure the speeches reflect the dignified ceremony,” Kociela said.
Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8753, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.