Class Rank Harms Students More Than It Benefits Them

Relegating a class rank to high school students is a longstanding custom at numerous schools – one that can get troublesome. The infamous rivalry is in plain view as a bunch of overachievers fight over small differences in their grade point average. This has driven a few schools to stop ranking students, or if nothing else to stop identifying a group of high scoring kids as the top 10 percent. Students achievements should not be ranked against each other because it is not a true representation of their abilities.

School curriculums and rigor levels differ and a 4.0 GPA can be top ten percent at one school and second quarter at another. This difference in rigor causes class rank to be an inaccurate measure to be judged by, as students from different schools may be at varying academic levels, despite having similar GPA’s.

There’s is currently a policy in Texas that allows members of the top 10 percent of students automatic admission to any public university. This policy is unfair to students at academically competitive campuses and causes unnecessary stress to good candidates, who have well-rounded portfolios, due to the fear they won’t be accepted. The University of Texas at Austin has recently changed the policy to the top six percent which makes the admissions even more rigorous for students. Instead of students focusing on their test scores, internships and workshops, extra-curricular activities, volunteering and job experience, this policy pushes more students to aim for the top 10 percent which makes class rank more of a sport than a learning atmosphere.

Class rank increases the temptation to cheat because students are pressured to be a higher ranking in order to get into the top universities. This not only increases dishonest work but also creates a atmosphere that is not conducive to productive learning. When students are ranked, they often lose enthusiasm for what they are learning, as compared to other students who aren’t evaluated in comparison with one another.

Many student’s fear that they won’t get into a great college solely because of their class rank. However, there are high schools that don’t implement rankings whatsoever, and their graduates are consistently acknowledged by both large state colleges and small, prestigious universities.

There are transitional advances that can be taken before getting rid of class rank completely. For instance, a high school may begin by removing class rank for incoming freshmen.

At the very least, they can get rid of the notorious practice of placing students against each other for one class so it doesn’t seem as if academics are a competitive sport. Schools should be a place where learning is meant to be encouraged not a place where students are surrounded by continuous pressure and fear.