Students from Red Bank Regional will soon have the option of leaving their class ranking off college applications under a measure approved last night by the school’s board, today’s Asbury Park Press reports.

From the story:

Red Bank Regional follows the lead of about 32 high schools in the state, which either don’t report rank on student transcripts or make it optional.

Red Bank Catholic High School and Middletown High Schools North and South offer the choice, [Superintendent Edward] Westervelt said.

“Our experience learning from Red Bank Catholic is that we’ll have four to five kids who send their rank, who are in the top 10,” he said.

Officials have debated the issue since early 2006 and met with parents several times before last night’s decision. Guidance counselors have said at previous meetings and parental forums about the issue that rank isn’t a true indicator of a student’s academic career.

Because of the high rate of achievement at Red Bank Regional, students with an 89.1 grade point average are not in the top 25 percent of the class this year, Kingsmore said earlier this month.

“A solid “B’ student isn’t being looked at by a good school, and that’s a shame,” Kingsmore said at that meeting.

Instead of relying solely on rank, counselors and board members want college admissions officers to look at students’ transcripts and examine students’ course work, essays, extracurricular activities and other indicators that they contend provide a more comprehensive academic picture.

Students and parents will decide whether the high school should include class rank on a pupil’s transcript. Officials ruled out permitting students to transmit rank on some applications and omit it on others, saying it would be a bureaucratic nightmare.

Red Bank Catholic researched and debated the rankings option for about eight years prior to making the change in the 1998-1999 school year, which took effect with the class of 2000. Part of the research included looking at neighboring high schools and interviewing college admissions officials.

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