Increasingly irrelevant, principal says

Dual ranking, a once-prized measure of academic meritocracy, will be out next year at Burnsville High School.

It’s stricken from the school’s 2021-22 course catalog, which the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District 191 School Board approved Jan. 14.

Dual ranking has grown increasingly irrelevant, Principal Dave Helke told the board.

Similar to a weighted-grade system, dual ranking rewards students who take accelerated courses in which high grades are harder to achieve. Unlike weighted grading, the district’s dual ranking system assigns a separate class rank to students who complete a core set of honors classes.

Under pressure from some students, the school began dual ranking in 2005-06.

But it has fallen out of favor, Helke said.

College admissions officers are less influenced by grade-point average and class rank than they once were, Helke said.

Today they’re more “holistic,” assessing not only GPA and course rigor but also involvement in activities and experiences students bring from outside the classroom, according to Helke.

Some even undo dual ranking and grade weighting from a student’s application, he said.

“It feels like it’s the right time to say it’s not really a relevant measure anymore,” Helke said. “It’s not being asked for or used by our families.”

The school will still calculate a class rank for each student.

Next year’s course catalog includes a new course, Introduction to Criminal Justice, offered by Inver Hills Community College. Students can get high school and college credit for the online course, Helke said.

Another addition is Advanced Manufacturing Design and Fabrication.

Changes are also being made to ninth grade science as a result of new state standards, Helke said. The ninth grade emphasis has shifted from physical to earth science, he said.

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