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OPINION: Class rank is a poor way to evaluate a student


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As the second semester is in full swing, many students at Archbishop Ryan are referring to their first semester to see what they could improve on for the rest of the year. On their report cards, there is one number that has more weight behind it than any class grade could: their class rank.

Class rank is a measure of how a student’s performance compares to other students in his/her class. It was first established so colleges could see how a student compares to competing students for admissions and scholarships.

However, many high schools have begun to discount class rank. The College Board website states the reasoning behind this is because “it penalizes many excellent students who are squeezed out of the top 10 percent of the class and then overlooked by elite colleges.“

While being in the top 10 percent is something to be celebrated, those students who don’t make it and still work extremely hard are not being credited properly for the work they do.

In addition to this, class rank does not take into consideration anything other than academic achievement. Students who are involved in extracurricular activities and sports may not excel in scholastic subjects such as math or science.

This can damage a person’s class rank. Well-rounded students who takes part in after school activities and sports might not have a high class rank. If they are working hard in more things than just school work, they might feel their hard work isn’t good enough, which leads to a feeling of defeat.

Similarly, not every person is as skilled in the same things. Some students learn differently. Harvard professor Howard Gardner created a theory of multiple intelligences on the basis that “students possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways,” stated Gardner in 1991 in an article on

This raises the question of why schools use the same ranking for people who don’t learn the same way. It’s a system that doesn’t begin to cover the complexities that come with a person’s learning abilities.

While many would say healthy competition is good to motivate students to worker harder, there are some things that shouldn’t be compared. Education is a really intimate and personal experience for a lot of students, and isn’t always something they want to share with their peers, especially when things like family life and jobs are factors in a person’s mental capacity.

Class rank is outdated. In an increasingly innovative world, there should be more efficient ways to evaluate a student. As Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

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OPINION: Class rank is a poor way to evaluate a student