CHAPEL HILL – The Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board passed a resolution Thursday asking the North Carolina General Assembly to allow class ranking to be dropped from students’ transcripts.
Jeff Nash, CHCCS Executive Director for Community Relations, says that board members believe class rankings are doing students more harm than good.
“Now that the resolution has passed, we can now pursue some legislators who would be willing to put this into the form of a bill, and I think it will have widespread appeal from school districts around the state,” Nash says.
The resolution asks that the General Assembly allow the districts to decide if class rank will be included on their students’ transcripts, while not forcing them to do away with it.
Currently, the inclusion of class rank in a transcript is mandated by the State, but school officials say pressure to maintain high rankings is causing students undue stress, as universities and colleges are increasingly looking to other measures of academic achievement.
Nash explains that CHCCS assembled a task force last year to focus on reducing student stress. The group found that class-ranking status was one of the top reasons students became anxious.
“Their points were right on the money, and they did talk about how it discourages collaboration, and it discourages a student’s love of learning,” Nash says. “It makes for a much more competitive environment, which competition is not a bad thing in itself, but students tell us that they won’t take a woodworking class or chorus because it is not an advanced placement or honors class, and the can’t get the extra credits.”
The board believes students are focusing too much on taking accelerated classes only and neglecting electives like theater arts.
“The universities tell us that they want well-rounded students, and we have these wonderful opportunities for them to become these well-rounded students with well-rounded resumes, but they won’t take those classes in this competitive environment,” Nash says.
According to administrators, about half of the nation’s high schools have already done away with class rankings.