Rid the ranking system

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Rid the ranking system

Olivia Griffin, News Editor

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Get rid of the class ranking system at this school. I’m not saying this because I’m bitter about my own rank or anything like that. Honestly, for our situation, it’s pointless and even harmful.

First off, in today’s day and age, class rank is surprisingly not as important as it has been in past years. In 1993, 42 percent of universities surveyed rated rank as one of the most important factors in their admission decision, while in 2010, that number went down to 22 percent.

In a presentation entitled “Class Rank: Will it Disappear Soon?” at the annual ACT State Organization Conference in Illinois, college admissions expert Lisa Michele voiced her support of not using class or percentile ranking is generally a good idea for schools with high average test scores and a relatively small student body (cough… Lovejoy). Currently, class rank is in practice at only 46 percent of American high schools, meaning that class rank is on the path to becoming obsolete.

Class rank, in theory, is designed to encourage students to challenge themselves academically, take difficult classes, and get the highest possible scores in each class. However, Lovejoy students are anything but slackers. Most students are taking several AP classes and the school doesn’t have a huge problem with underachievers. Honestly, we’re a school of overachievers.

We are top athletes, top students, top artists. We like to challenge ourselves because we like to do our best, and we don’t need class rank to be encouraged to do our best academically. Even a more reasonable ranking system, such as reporting quartiles versus specific ranks, would be enough competition to provide encouragement for students to do well.

Rank also keeps students from challenging themselves academically. In the past, high-ranking students have not taken AP World History in favor of taking Pre-AP World History, where they would receive an easy A. Rather than reward students for their effort in a difficult class, many students saw their rank go down after taking WHAP.

Theoretically, class rank is an indicator of a student’s academic performance in comparison to his or her peers. Theoretically.

In reality, class rank is incredibly subjective: Did the student have to work

after school? Is the student involved in a time-consuming extracurricular activity? Test scores such as the SAT and ACT provide a far more objective view at a student’s academic abilities. Class rank is dependent on intelligence, work ethic, and academic potential, but there are many extraneous factors involved in the rank as well.

One factor that affects class rank that students have no control over is the size of the graduating class. In my graduating class, 2014, there were 292 students when we were first ranked. According to the last reports, that number had dropped to 274. That means that two students just got kicked out of the top ten percent, and things just got even more competitive for students in those top rankings.

I hope that the school administration considers the possibility of banning the practice of class rank, not just for the sake of our college applications, but for the sake of our sanity.