Glendale — Two proposals - one to change the grading system and a second to eliminate class rank - are geared toward helping Nicolet High School students get into college.
The School Board on Monday got its first look at the proposals that a special committee had been working on during the school year, and is expected to vote on them next month.
Looking at test scores, rigor
Many colleges and universities use class rank to exclude students from admission when included on a transcript, Principal Greg DePue said.
As a result many high schools are dropping class rank, he said. Shorewood and Whitefish Bay high schools have eliminated it and the Mequon-Thiensville School Board will consider dropping it at Homestead High School during an upcoming meeting.
DePue said 34 percent of Nicolet students take Advanced Placement or honors classes, yet many universities stop looking at applicants whose class rank drops them below the top 15 percent of a class.
"AP tests are predictors of success in college," DePue said. More than 15 percent of Nicolet students take and score well in AP classes and tests.
By eliminating the class rank on transcripts, DePue said, the universities would be forced to look at standardized test scores and the rigor of the students' courses, which would work for the benefit of Nicolet students.
The committee's recommendation would affect the Class of 2013, next year's sophomores.
Those students would have ample time to select more rigorous courses that would influence their admission to college in place of class rank.
"They should be encouraged to take more rigorous classes," DePue said. "College letters of recommendation should note the increase in the rigor."
Students who will be juniors and seniors are too far along in their high school years to make the necessary course changes and should continue to have the option of showing class rank on their transcripts, he said.
One parent, Steve Russek, said he thought the elimination of class rank would place too much emphasis on standardized test results, which he felt do not fairly represent student achievement.
Abandoning unwieldy systems
Director of Technology John Reiels, a committee member, said a change in the two grading systems at the high school to one weighted system would help students get admitted to college.
The school has a 4.67-unweighted grading system and a 5.83-weighted scale.
The committee is proposing a 4.0-weighted scale that would maintain a 0.5-point difference between honors, accelerated and regular classes.
"That is what universities are used to looking at," Reiels said, adding that the current system of two grading scales is confusing and contradictory in some cases.
Universities often recalculate the grades Nicolet sends to them now, guidance counselor Nader Raad said.
The change in the grading system would affect the Class of 2014, which is the incoming freshman class.
DePue said that changing the grading system for sophomores through seniors would hurt some students because the current system gives extra value for an A-plus while the proposed system would not. Making that change would drop some students' grade point averages substantially, he said.
Discussion revolved around the dates of implementation, which classes would be graded under the new system and which classes would no longer be ranked.
Board President Marilyn Franklin said similar changes in the past have always applied first to the incoming freshman class and added to each incoming class thereafter.
The board will vote on the proposals at its June 21 meeting.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Fox Point steps closer to footbridge's removal
- Fox Point-Bayside's school budget may get some state relief
- K4 class sizes named priority
- Shorewood Schools Business Manager moves on
- Police Report: May 13
- Elmbrook recommends Stormonth's Westfahl as new Brookfield Elementary principal
- Fox Point-Bayside School Board finalizes three of 10 potential layoffs
- News & Notes: May 8
- Fox Point-Bayside School Board recall set in motion
- NSFD board trying to take funding formula discussion behind closed doors