Haverhill Public Schools Superintendent James F. Scully.
The Haverhill School Committee will give parents and others a chance to speak out on whether to keep or replace the high school’s class ranking method.
At Thursday’s committee meeting, Superintendent James F. Scully introduced a recommendation from Haverhill High’s school guidance department to move away from the existing “quality point calculation” method in favor of a percentile-based ranking system. Committeeman Joseph J. Bevilacqua told WHAV the committee and the public will have the chance to review the guidance department study before coming back for consideration at a later meeting. He said it is a more appropriate way to handle the matter which has been under debate at recent meetings.
“My concern is, obviously, making sure that we put students first. Students should be our utmost concern and we should treat everyone with respect and never pit one against the other. We’re hoping for a cordial working relationship with respect to trying to work this issue out to the benefit of all,” Bevilacqua said.
Bevilacqua said there are pros and cons to class ranking and he has not made a decision, but he is open to discussing the suggestions made.
“It appears that a number of universities and schools are moving away from a ranking. But, at the same time, there are those that believe having a ranking system provides some more competitiveness on the part of the students and of course consider maybe working harder to succeed better,” Bevilacqua said.
In March, some parents complained honors and advanced placement students—representing the top 20 percent of learners—are losing class rankings to “middle of the class academically” Early College participants. Colin Norton told the school committee the policy prevented his son from being accepted into Boston University.
“I actually met with the dean of admission at Boston University and, in reviewing Zack’s transcript, they looked to take the top five percent from most schools—they are very, very selective—and that was the reason he gave me that he was denied admission.”
At the time, Scully said class ranking is not typically a factor in deciding whether a student is accepted at a major university.