Ranking students: should schools use it and colleges stop considering it as a factor in admission?
Class ranking in high school is an archaic method of measuring students’ achievement. The system is flawed, to say the least, and takes focus away from effectively educating students. The ranking system creates a school environment where students concentrate on competition rather than education. Students who "do their homework" and figure out the system realize that they can take a course for an "easy A" and rank higher than a student who took a more difficult course and received a B. Not only is this unfair, but it discourages students from taking classes that will challenge them to reach their full potential. At schools that have eliminated the class system and instead instituted a “cum laude” program, school officials attest that the new system encourages students. Rather than avoiding difficult classes to help them inch closer to the # 1 position, students feel more free to take classes that will truly maximize their education. Eliminating the ranking system motivates students to work toward fulfilling their potential because it rewards students for their individual achievements. Even if schools do not eliminate the ranking system, something must be done to make the system a more accurate reflection of student performance. As it stands, students who take advanced placement classes are at a disadvantage – they take ore difficult courses than the rest of the student body but receive the same amount of credit in the ranking system as students who take easier classes. If the ranking system remains as it is at many of the nation's schools then advanced placement classes must receive more weight in the rank calculation (similar to the way in which AP classes are factored into the GPA). While some argue that doing away with the ranking system will produce lazy or stupid students, their claim is inaccurate. Over-achievers will do their bestno matter what. Even without a ranking system students who want to do or be their best will still compete against themselves and other students. Eliminating the ranking system will allow students who may not rank in the top 3 among their classmates to be rewarded and recognized for their individual successes. While schools may stop reporting the class rank, some colleges and scholarship applications request the information. It seems that even though a student’s rank does not reflect how well a student will do in college, some colleges view ranking as an important factor in the making an admission decision. This truly is an issue of what is best for our students. Is being # 1 more important than making sure that a student is prepared for what lies beyond high school? Pigeonholing students sends them a message about their ability. Placing value on a number, rather than the quality of education, we condemn students to mediocrity.