HOPKINTON, N.H. (AP) – A New Hampshire high school is looking to drop rankings from students’ transcripts, saying it might be more of a problem than a help for students trying to get into college.

At Hopkinton High School, which typically graduates small classes between 70 and 100 students, a grade point average of 88 and a rank of 32 could be a disadvantage for someone applying to a top school, Principal Steve Chamberlin said.

“When we report those numbers, we’ve really eliminated them from that opportunity,” he said. “Is that really a distinction between students? It’s tough enough.”

Often, a half grade-point difference can result in a 10 to 15 space gap between students in class rank, he said.

Last year, Bow High School dropped its ranking system. Chamberlin said he had not heard of any students being negatively affected by the change. When the idea was first proposed in Hopkinton around the same time, it raised concerns from parents and students.

The proposal before the Hopkinton School Board would maintain standings for a valedictorian and salutatorian, who traditionally speak at Hopkinton’s graduation ceremony, Chamberlin said.

Class rank information on others would be kept internally, unless sharing it would otherwise benefit the student.

“We know class rank is required for some scholarships, so at certain times it could help,” Chamberlin said.

“We’re trying to find a way that if a student really needed a rank to help them, we could provide it for the college,” he said.

“We’re hoping that colleges look deeper than just a rank.”

Colleges place varying degrees of importance on class standing when considering a student’s application, said UNH Admissions Director Rob McGann.

“While I think it’s meaningful, it doesn’t drive the admissions process,” McGann said. “It’s going to depend on a number of factors.”

McGann said UNH looks at students in the context of their high school. If officials are not familiar with the high school, they may look at other criteria, like standardized testing or ask the school to provide some relative measure of achievement, he said.

Currently, Hopkinton begins tracking students’ ranks junior year. The system is not weighted, meaning an A in a gym class would be valued the same as an A in an advanced calculus class.

“It’s difficult to judge what is more difficult than others,” Chamberlin said. “We try to value all academic areas in all kids.”

Information from: Concord Monitor, http://www.cmonitor.com

AP-ES-05-26-08 1130EDT

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