Class rank is the method schools use to measure the academic achievements of students against their classmates. Schools evaluate class ranking every grading period, which could be a semester or a trimester. Class ranks are bound to go up or down, depending on a student’s performance.
The Benefits of Class Ranking
Class ranks provide a way for schools and colleges to compare students’ academic achievements against other students. It also helps colleges put GPAs into context by providing more insights into a student’s intellectual abilities during college applications.
Class rankings also play a role in some scholarships that require applicants to have a certain rank or percentile to be eligible. Besides, scholarship committees, just like colleges, may also use class ranks to judge a student’s academic abilities alongside standardized test scores.
In some high schools, students receive awards for achieving a certain class rank. For example, the top 10% or 25% of their class. Some institutions offer honors for those students at the very top of their class rankings.
A graduating senior ranked top in their class receives honor as the valedictorian and gives a speech at graduation. The person who comes in the second position is the salutatorian of the class.
The Problem With Class Ranking
While rating students based on their performance is perfectly rational, such rankings only contribute to irrational distinctions. For example, students ranked in the bottom half in their school may rank number one at a different school.
This is to say that rankings won’t tell you much about the strength of each student.
Some schools are no longer using the class ranking system argue that some students may unfairly miss out on scholarship chances and college admissions. For example, a student in the top 11% may have a very similar GPA to a student in the top 9%.
However, just because they are not in the top 10% of their class ranking, they fail to qualify for college admission.
Some other schools that do not support class rankings also feel that rankings don’t promote cooperation and teamwork. The reason is that students become too competitive and work in isolation as they vie to become top in their class.
Besides, class ranking encourages some students to take easier classes to boost their ranking. They prefer this route to more challenging courses where they are likely to learn more, even if they don’t necessarily score an A.
The Future of Class Ranking
Fewer high schools are now using class ranking systems. Colleges are also giving less importance to class ranks when reviewing college applications. Instead, colleges are now more interested in focusing on other components like GPA or the rigor of classes the student took in high school.
Recently, various ambitious academic standards have been developed. Learning institutions now assume that students must develop the knowledge and skills for postsecondary education and the workforce.
Class rank does not recognize the skills students most need as they transition into the marketplace and in life in general. A study by Guskey found that most valedictorians were successful, psychologically healthy, and well-adjusted as they graduated from school.
Nonetheless, most of them did not head their classes in their career life. They worked hard and followed the rules of the latter but did not suggest innovations or explore unfamiliar territory.
Institutions mustn’t believe that academic success is a scarce commodity only available to a chosen few individuals. Instead, if ranking is to continue being in use, it should use a methodology that does not promote one student’s success at the expense of another.
Check out our blog to find more resources to help students become all-rounded individuals based on more than just class ranks.