ELVERSON - The Twin Valley School Board voted 7-1 to do away with class rank and traditional honors at the graduation ceremonies.
Board member Ann Tunbridge voted against the policy change, saying she needed more information to feel comfortable with the idea.
"I felt more research should have gone into it. There should have been parents involved," she said, adding that she may have been in support of the measure had she had more data.
The change was also discussed in the Instructional Committee meeting before the regular board meeting.
"We wanted to look at how we recognize students," explained Twin Valley High School Principal Kate Long.
"We didn't want them making educational choices based on [class rank]," she said, adding that members of the previous graduating class took courses based on raising their GPA instead of interest level. "A more fair way is to rank students in a decile system."
She explained this made more sense because students in the top 10 were often separated by six tenth of a percentage or less.
"It is not always an accurate reporting system whereas the decile system will be more accurate for lower grade [levels]," said Long.
For example, instead of having a number such as 10 out of 200 students on a student's report card, the students will be placed into the top 10 percent of the class.
This means there will be no valedictorian at graduation. Speakers will be chosen from the top 10 percent after going through an audition for speaking.
"I can already hear the dissent," said Board Vice President Marita Sullivan. She cautioned that parents that were used to a ranking system would need time to get comfortable with the new system.
Long explained the new system would be put in place for the incoming ninth grade class.
Board Member John Prinzo said the new system may allow students to try classes they otherwise would not or take Dual Enrollment courses, in which a student enrolls for a college course and gets both college and high school credit.
During the regular meeting, William Montgomery of Pennwood Drive in Eleverson said there was not enough research put into the decision.
"There was no real justification. What were the pros and cons?" he asked. "In America we reward effort and performance."
He said the presentation by Long included "flimsy data" and did not have the community involved.
"What you're doing tonight is saying 'Forget about the community,'" he said.
In addition, for post-secondary schools that need a class rank, the school will be able to convert a student's rank.
Sullivan explained the data would be available, it just would not be shared with the students unless asked for by their parents.