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Class Ranking Ranks Lower and Lower

Should we allow class ranking systems in schools to become obsolete?

Corianna Jackson

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The air is filled with anxiety, cocky attitudes, and worried expressions as students file into the school lobby, waiting for the unveiling of the Top Ten Students list.  To high school students, making this list will be the determining factor for their Ivy League college acceptances, and therefore, their future career possibilities. Students, specifically AP and Honors students, power through blood, sweat, and tears to achieve straight-A’s just to rank higher among their peers, but it may all be for nothing. Most high schools are doing away with the system, adding that it gives students taking more rigorous courses a greater advantage due to weighted averages, and that disposing of the system would decrease competition among peers. However, this would force colleges to rely more heavily on standardized testing and virtually create even more rivalry by eliminating ways that applicants can stand out. Ultimately the class ranking system should stay in place because it encourages friendly competition, rewards students in a positive way, and promotes a strong work ethic.

Opposers believe that this system is obsolete because there is no standardized way to determine one’s GPA. For instance, a 4.1 GPA in one school may be comparable to a 4.5 GPA at another school. According to “Her Campus,” most Florida schools do not even have ranking systems in place. What opposers do not see is that colleges end up having to recreate class rankings during selection processes anyway. According to “Schools Avoid Class Ranking, Vexing Colleges” by Alan Finder, colleges use information the school provides to distribute grade averages for a student’s entire senior class. Banishing the class ranking system does not stop the comparison of students to other ones, it just makes the selection process longer and gives less control to students.

The competition for a spot in the Top Ten gives students something to work towards, especially for those who love challenges, and pushes students to take more rigorous classes. The idea that getting rid of the system will decrease competition is ludicrous. If class ranking becomes extinct, standardized testing becomes even more prominent in decision-making. A lot of students are very bright, but just aren’t good test takers. How can one test determine a student’s work ethic, drive, or consistency? Standardizing the GPA system by establishing the same rules and guidelines could fix discrepancies and allow clearer and better class ranking results for everyone. There should be clear categories and percentages that make up every student’s grade so these issues can be alleviated.   


Works Cited

Finder, Alan. “Schools Avoid Class Ranking, Vexing Colleges.” New York Times. 5 Mar. 2006

Sawey, Megan. “Here’s How Much Your Class Rank Actually Matters.” Her Campus. 14 Dec. 2017

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