Board members cite student wellness, college prospects in class rank investigation



The Roseville Joint Union High School District board revived the discussion of eliminating class rank at a board meeting on April 12.

“Principals will be taking this to their site councils in May for feedback from parents and students. They will also be seeking feedback from their teachers,” Severson said. “After we gather feedback, we will take this back to the board for review in June.”

Granite Bay High School’s 2015 valedictorian Annina Hanlon told board members that she believed class rank was an ineffective way of measuring student achievement, and just puts further stress on student. Last year at GBHS, a student with a 4.0 GPA could have been ranked 134 out of a class of 500 students.

Last year, Roseville High School’s seniors made up 61 of the 366 seniors in RJUHSD who had over a 4.0 GPA. According to data from the National Association for College Admission Counselling, only 23.1% of colleges surveyed cited class rank as “considerably important.”

District board member Jan Pinney said that after Hanlon introduced the topic to the board they made a commitment to take a look at the issue and analyze the facts, which prompted their current search for feedback.

“The valedictorian of that class approached the board last spring and expressed a concern that many kids were stressed out because of class ranking,” Pinney said. “We promised we would look at the situation and that is what we are doing now.”

District superintendent Ron Severson suggested the board get feedback from site councils before making a definite decision.
“Severson suggested that the right place to hear the evidence is the site councils, so hopefully we will get it on each site’s agenda, and get their feedback,” district board president Paige Stauss said.

Severson believes people will be in favor of displacing class rank after being presented with more information. The district plans to present the community data and information before asking for any final opinions.

“Most people are in general support of changing our system once they look at the data,” Severson said. “The reason we are seeking feedback is to make sure we are not missing something. It will be interesting to see what the feedback is.”

However, Pinney is not as positive that people will support a change and he himself is not exactly in favor of it either.

“I’m not confident at all,” Pinney said. “I’m more curious. In life, ranking is reality. If 10 people apply for a job and there are only three openings, the 10 applicants get ranked whether it creates stress in them or not. I may be the only board member whose initial gut reaction is not in favor of eliminating class ranking.”

Junior Isabelle Bautista, who is currently ranked third in her class, believes that class rank is a good motivator for students to do well in school and push themselves to their fullest extent.

“I would say that it isn’t reasonable to eliminate it just because it is a huge motivator, at least for me, to keep my grades up and to keep taking challenging classes in order to keep my rank,” Bautista said.

Pinney hopes that the district will be doing more analysis before coming to a conclusion.

He has even been gathering the opinions from his family and friends on the discussion over whether class rank should stay.

“I hope we are just at the beginning,” Pinney said. “I’ve been taking an informal poll with family and friends and I’m finding that there is a wide disparity of opinion, although many more people seem to be in favor of keeping class rankings than of eliminating them.”

Stauss is leaning towards the removal of class rank, but believes that isn’t a problem for which the board has a definite solution.

“It isn’t a topic where it is crystal clear what the correct solution is, but after seeing Mr. Basham’s research, I’m inclined to want to eliminate class rank,” Stauss said.