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Class Rank: Driving or Demotivating?

Ashlyn Dodson, Staff Writer

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“What’s your class rank?” is a question the majority of students have asked at one point or another. For some, this topic is one of enjoyment, as it reflects their hard work. For others, class rank is a subject to avoid.

Recently, Keller ISD has been discussing making amendments to the current class rank system by adjusting weighted classes or not releasing class rank to students at all. However, students should have access to their class rank because it holds them accountable and allows them to set goals.

A variety of elements factor into determining a student’s ranking. All classes, including electives, are included in determining students’ GPAs, which are then sorted from lowest to highest, with the best-ranking student at number one. Pre-AP and AP classes also affect ranking, being “weighted” classes. While this doesn’t change students’ six weeks grades, extra points are included in calculating GPA. Dual credit classes are not incorporated into GPA because they’re college-level classes.

While this system of weighted classes has been used for years, there is still debate on whether it’s actually fair to students. Many argue that the only classes that should be factored into GPA are the required high school courses (core classes, a PE credit, a fine arts credit, two years of language, and a 21st century skill course). The reasoning behind this is that students who are involved in a non-weighted, non-required course for all four years, such as band or athletics, may be disadvantaged by the current system. Once they’ve fulfilled their required credit, staying in the course could actually hurt their ranking compared to other students who’ve moved onto weighted electives, and it pressures students to take extra weighted classes at the expense of valuable courses in an effort to be a top-ranking student.

In addition to the question of which classes should and shouldn’t be weighted, many are concerned with the effect of class rank on students’ mental health and productivity. While many use the knowledge of their class rank to set goals and motivate themselves, for students who don’t excel academically, knowing their class rank can be demotiving. Class rank also puts students in direct competition with one another, potentially shifting their focus from actually learning, to getting the best gradeswhich does not always truly reflect what a student has learned.

Still, students deserve to know where they stand. Many students need to be able to see their class rank in order to set goals, and many colleges use class rank in determining admissions. To prohibit students from knowing their class rank is unfair because it prevents them from being self-sufficient. At the high school level, most parents and teachers hold students to set their own goals and be responsible for their own education. However, students cannot be expected to do these things if they’re not given the tools to do so.

Many students use class rank as a way to motivate themselves and set goals. To deprive them of this useful tool because of the effects it might have on a select amount of students is unfair to those who wish to be the best they can in academics.

 

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and forum participants on this web site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of The Wigwam or official policies of The Wigwam.

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Class Rank: Driving or Demotivating?