District eliminates class rank for class of 2019

Chloe Wallace, Staff Writer

With first quarter officially in the gradebooks, students now have a component of their first semester GPA. For freshman, this marks the first time that this will have no bearing on their class rank, because the district eliminated that comparison starting with the class of 2019.

Ranking students against each other has been the subject of heated debate for years. Attitudes towards class rank vary because it has a unique effect on each individual student.

While students will still have their GPA, the loss of class rank means the loss of any specific comparison students had to fellow students. Some see this comparison to peers as a necessity for success in high schools while others see it as something that decreases the rate of success in high school students.

For Olivia Harrington, a freshman, the discontinuation of class rank is a surprise and a disappointment. She said that she believed class rank made “students want to be better than their friends, so they’d study more and maybe ask the teacher more questions.”  She also said that she thinks losing class rank will result in “no recognition for the kids who did well.”

For students who have been subject to ranking throughout high school, the change can look much more positive.

“Class rank was something that personally caused me a lot of stress” senior Katie Altpeter said. She believes students “can still push themselves to do well but not have to worry about a certain number and it would save them a lot of stress.”

Altpeter is not alone in her thoughts. Many students have experienced stress due to the pressure that goes along with class rank and several freshman are glad they won’t have to experience this.

Jackie Sanderson, a freshman, said she thinks it will be “less stressful to not think about a GPA as a score amongst my peers and instead just think about individual improvement and doing your very best, rather than just trying to get above everyone else.”

These differing concerns bring up a lot of questions as to why the district decided to end class rank for good. Principal Mr. Sargeant said that many factors went into making the decision.

“Class rank is actually hurting our kids at Cary-Grove High School rather than helping them relative to college applications,” Mr. Sargeant said. He said that two students from different schools could have the same GPA but have drastically different class ranks. “That doesn’t help our students’ chances of getting into those institutions.

“There are a lot of institutions right now that frankly don’t care what your class rank is,” Mr. Sargeant added.

The elimination of class rank is more than just a move to help with college admissions, however. Mr. Sargeant said the ultimate goal is “creating […] 21st century learners. It’s really about teaming. That’s what employers […] and colleges are looking for: people that can team together.

“Class rank is putting kids in a competitive mode with one another rather than truly being learners that can learn from each other” and “be engaging in the classroom,” he said.

In addition to fostering greater teamwork, the change could encourage students to take classes that are a better fit for their interests. Now that students don’t have to worry about class rank they won’t “take five AP classes just because the person sitting next to them is,” Mr. Sargeant said.

Competition is not always a bad thing and it can often lead to success, but Mr. Sargeant was clear that in the case of class rank the hindrances outweigh the benefits. According to Mr. Sargeant, class rank can negatively impact a student not only during high school years but also throughout their search for college and jobs.

It is evident that when this major change was first introduced into Cary-Grove, many freshman were completely unaware. Now as some time has passed most students are starting to understand how things are different and they are forming their own opinions on this loss of class rank. It is safe to say that there are many different perspectives on the matter.

It is clear that students will no longer have an easy way to compare themselves to each other; however, the educational results of ending class rank will only tell with time. The future of the class of 2019 will demonstrate how much class rank can truly affect a student.