Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools consider cutting class rankings - WFLA News Channel 8

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools consider cutting class rankings

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Leaders of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City schools want to eliminate class rankings because they say it causes stress among students.

State law says that schools must rank students based on the grades they make.

But school officials with Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools say students take classes which will boost their overall rank instead of taking classes they are truly passionate about.

The school superintendent, Tom Forcella, believes students would be more likely to take classes in the arts and vocational courses if a ranking system didn't exist.

Thirty-seven percent of students surveyed in the district said they stopped taking an extracurricular activity in order to take a harder class.

High schools in Forcella's district have as many as eight valedictorians at graduation. In order for a student to be a valedictorian, one must have a 4.0 grade-point average. The title is not tied to class rank in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School district.

"That can be misleading," said Forcella. "What does that truly mean?"

According to Forcella, many high-achieving districts around the country have done away the system. According to information the school board is considering, as many as 40 to 60 percent of high schools around the nation have dropped the class rank system.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools checked with universities in North Carolina about the impact on students who come from districts without a ranking system.

"They accept kids from all over the world and they don't have a rank that comes with them. So, it wouldn't hurt them in terms of their ability to get into a particular college or university, but I think it would create a better learning environment for all kids," said Forcella.

The school board wants the state to change the law, giving each school district the option whether to have rank.

The board will vote Thursday night on a resolution supporting any legislation that changes the law. The next step will be to find lawmakers to draft a bill.

Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

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