East Lyme - Eliminating class rank and adjusting the grade-point-average formula at the high school makes sense, members of the Board of Education said Tuesday.
So, they asked, why not implement the changes starting with this year's freshmen, rather than with the Class of 2016, as proposed?
"I think, if it's so great for our students, if it's going to benefit them, then I think it's something that we should do now," board member Pam Rowe said.
Superintendent James Lombardo said school officials would brief the parents of current freshmen by the next meeting and get their opinions on the possible changes to class rankings and GPA.
East Lyme High School Principal Michael Susi first brought the idea of eliminating class rank to a school board committee in February. Class rankings are somewhat artificial markers of student achievement that depend heavily on how competitive that particular class is, Susi said.
"So that number that we present to the colleges really doesn't give a good representation of our students," he said.
More and more competitive school districts are doing away with class rankings, he said.
"We want to present the best package to the colleges and universities and have them look at the data points that we feel are relevant," Susi said.
The high school also would "recalibrate" GPA calculations to provide a more equitable system. Currently, a D-plus letter grade in an Advanced Placement course might carry the same weight as an A in a B-level course, creating a "huge disparity," Susi said.
In the future, the school district would report both a "simple" GPA, where grades in all classes are worth the same, and a weighted GPA. The simple GPA would include grades in electives courses that aren't factored into the weighted GPA, Susi said.
Reporting both GPA calculations would help present "the best possible package," he said.
Parent Sarbari Rayi attended the board meeting to raise concerns that she said she and other parents had about eliminating class rankings.
"It's a tradition to have a ranking," she said.
The parent of a fifth-grader, Rayi said a good portion of public universities still depend on class rankings. Getting rid of class rankings would hurt students who, in these difficult economic times, are relying on public higher education, she said.