Class rank a dying measure in Iowa high schools

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, December 5, 2013

A 3.5 grade-point average may earn Dowling Catholic High School students praise but not necessarily a place in the state’s public universities.

That’s one reason why the West Des Moines academic powerhouse has joined roughly two dozen other Iowa high schools in eliminating class rank, which is determined by GPA.

Achieving a B average in Dowling’s college prep classes is commendable, academic counselor Tom Shively said.

But the competitive nature of the school can act as a doubled-edged sword for students applying to college. Dowling seniors who have a GPA of less than 3.56 currently fall into the bottom 50 percent of their class — a black mark on otherwise impressive transcripts.

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