Area High Schools Cut Class Ranking

CLEVELAND (AP) - Several northeast Ohio high schools are eliminating traditional class ranking in hopes of improving students' chances at being accepted into colleges -- many of which say rank doesn't even matter.

Hudson and Chagrin Falls eliminated ranking this year, following the example of Beachwood, Shaker Heights and Orange. Most private schools do not rank students.

School officials say class rankings have become skewed by advanced-placement and college preparatory classes that can increase students' grade point averages beyond the traditional 4.0 limit. That can leave straight-A students who don't take such classes at the bottom of the heap.

Rosemarie Fabrizio, guidance director at Orange High School, where 95 percent of seniors will go to college, said the school hasn't had problems since it dropped rankings eight years ago.

"Students have gotten a chance at schools that they may not have if we ranked," she said. "We are really concerned that our kids have good choices and are presented fairly."

More districts are eliminating rank, especially those in affluent suburbs, said Susan Donovan, dean of admissions at Syracuse University.

"No one wants their son or daughter to be in the bottom half of the class, and there tends to be misconception about how admissions officers operate," she said.

A lower rank wouldn't necessarily prevent getting into a choice college, said Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. Those who review applications understand what rank means relative to other data, he said.

Many public schools continue to rank students.

"Universities have told us they want rank," said Bud Martin, principal of Strongsville High School Principal, where 85 percent of the 550 seniors will attend college.

"Let's face it, colleges factor in more than the grades and make a full evaluation of the students," he said. "Rank is just a part of the whole picture."

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)