Lane’s choice to eliminate class rank is the right one

Back to Article
Back to Article

Lane’s choice to eliminate class rank is the right one


Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






By Erica Rocha

As I reflect back on elementary school I realize that I have been competing with other students my entire educational career. As I transitioned into high school, the competition only increased. Here it is not only about who has the best grades but also who can get into International Day clubs, sports, and student elected positions among other achievements. Perhaps it is the pressure to stand out among other students, or simply to have something to offer when the time to fill out college applications comes around. Similarly, there is a pressure for students to be in the top of their class based on rank. Ranking students based on GPA is useful for colleges to see the top students, however I agree with Lane’s decision to eliminate it.

Lane is the largest high school in Illinois and to have about 4,200 students, it is difficult not to have problems with the school ranking system. Ranking students based on their ability to earn good grades can cause stress and rivalry between students. According to a survey given by the Lane counseling department, more than 50 percent of students admitted to being stressed. Giving students first place, second place, and so on, creates a competitive atmosphere where grades are valued more than whether the student are actually able to learn from their teachers. It is difficult to reach first place among so many students. Ranks are based on grades but grades may not necessarily reflect a student’s ability to learn.

This can also cause problems with admissions to college and universities. Some universities consider class ranks for admission, however, with so many students, the ranks are repetitive. Several students have been tied with other students for one rank. It is difficult to distinguish between students who hold the same rank. Also, class ranks vary slightly between each student. For example a student may have a 3.341 while the second student has a 3.340 GPA. Although the second student has a good GPA, they are one rank lower because of that 0.001 difference. So although a student may have a “low class rank” such as 650 out of 1,000 students, it does not mean they have a low GPA, they may have been pushed farther down the list in ranking because other students had a slight difference in GPA. This is a problem considering most colleges only look at the top 10 or 25 percent of the class for admission or scholarships based on rank.

The competition that comes with the ranking system is not entirely negative. It can encourage students to work harder to achieve a higher rank, but other methods can help maintain Lane’s academic reputation. Incentives can be given to those students who go to tutoring, who are club leaders, who have a large amount of service hours, and more.

According to National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), more than half of all high schools no longer report student rankings. The elimination of class ranks is necessary to ensure equality between students and their opportunities to gain admission to the college of their choice. Fortunately, Lane will be implementing this change in January just as many other schools have done so.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email