- On Monday, the Omaha-area Millard Public Schools board of education voted to eliminate class rankings for the district's high schools.
- On Tuesday, an Illinois school board took a similar course, voting to eliminate GPA-based rankings and find another way to reward top-performing students.
- In doing so, the districts have joined a growing trend of districts dropping the ranking systems once thought key for college applications.
Millard's vote was driven in part by administrators who said the rankings placed too much stress on students and college admissions officers had shifted their focus to other performance metrics. "Other than pride and bragging rights, what use is it?" one board member said. Other Nebraska districts are starting to look at potentially following Millard's lead.
Districts across the country have started to seek out other ways to signal that students are top performers, without resorting to often arbitrary ranking systems where top students were sometimes separated by less than 0.01 of a GPA. Instead, districts have begun to give all students who reach a certain level the title of valedictorian or summa cum laude, like colleges do.
The move also coincides with a trend towards using grading to denote what skills students have mastered rather than as a way to sort and rank them. But that can be a challenging shift for districts to make, as community members and teachers are often more comfortable in a familiar system. In an ACSD report on grading reform, experts recommended that district leaders verse themselves on the research into effective grading and build community consensus before making big shifts.