New GPA Criteria Established for Academic Scholar Distinction

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When District 211 made the decision to eliminate class rank, careful consideration was given to revising the process used to determine which students qualified as Academic Scholars during his or her senior year.

New selection criteria was established to determine which students will be designated Academic Scholars, and those guidelines were approved by the Board of Education at its meeting on April 26.

Instead of using class rank to identify the top 25 students, grade point average will be the determining factor. Students who achieve or earn a minimum of 3.90 on the regular grade point average scale or a minimum of 4.70 on the weighted scale at the end of their seventh semester will be designated Academic Scholars.

A District committee considered three different GPA scenarios before deciding which best identified these students. The committee reviewed the GPA’s of academic scholars from the past five years. From there, they identified how many students at each school would be considered academic scholars using each of the new scenarios.

This change, however, neither lowers the standards to become an academic scholar, nor does it eliminate the sense of competition. The District wants to encourage a collaborative education rather than a competitive one, and eliminating rank will allow more students to set a goal of becoming an academic scholar if they meet the requirements.

“If kids are going to compete, we absolutely believe they should compete with themselves,” Dolen said. “They should know their goals, set them early, and do everything in their power to reach that goal. We’re opening the opportunity to more students. It doesn’t mean we are lowering our standards, it just means every student can achieve it with the right planning and hard work.”

The first class to be effected by this change is the graduating class of 2013. Students recognized for their outstanding academic efforts and named Academic Scholars will be honored by the Board of Education and his or her respective school.

The classes of 2012 Academic Scholars were determined by the traditional method of class rank. To see this year’s Academic Scholars, please visit the District 211 website.