ETHS students start first year without class ranking

Edward Cox, Assistant Summer Editor

Evanston Township High School students started their first year without class ranking this week, the result of a nearly unanimous decision over the summer.

On June 24, the District 202 board voted 6-1 to discontinue the practice at ETHS and 5-2 to do so immediately with 2014’s graduating class.

Pete Bavis, D202 assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, explained the change in a letter to parents Thursday. He said class ranking creates “unnecessary stress” for students because it depends on factors out of their control such as how their peers are doing. It also forces colleges to “use a more holistic review of applicants,” especially those from prestigious high schools, Bavis said.

“At an academically competitive high school like ETHS, students ranking in the bottom half of their class are achieving at higher levels than students at many other high schools nationally,” Bavis said. “As a result, ETHS students with strong GPAs might be overlooked for admission solely because of reporting class rank.”

While mulling the proposed elimination of class ranking earlier this summer, D202 consulted several nearby high schools and top universities, including Northwestern. Michael Mills, NU associate provost for university enrollment, said in a D202 board report that 70 percent of students admitted to NU this year decided not to share their class rank.

— Edward Cox