Class Rank: Should We Keep It?

Class Rank: Should We Keep It?

Lily Hemmeter, Staff Writer

For years students’ academic achievements have been reduced to a single number: their Quality Point Average (QPA), a number which determines their standings among their fellow peers in the eyes of the almighty college admission system. Take one standard class or get one B and your rank will plummet. No pressure, right?

There have been recent discussions within BCPS about abolishing this system of ranking which is based on QPA, a number that accounts for grades as well as class difficulty level. Some have argued that it only serves to put unnecessary pressure on high schoolers in addition to everything else they have to worry about. This pressure could also lower self esteem and encourage detrimental competition between peers. For some students, taking mostly AP and GT classes is unrealistic; the workload that comes along with this type of schedule may not be worth the higher rank. It is also important to acknowledge that “there are smart students everywhere, no matter how rigorous the classes are”, as a Dulaney student pointed out.  

On the other hand, a decent class rank can make applicants stand out to colleges, increasing their likelihood of admission and even scholarships. It can be extremely rewarding and gratifying to earn this recognition. A high QPA is a reflection of academic aptitude and work ethic. Taking away this distinction would give colleges one less thing to judge applications by, further randomizing the admissions process. As noted by one Dulaney student, this ranking system could also be viewed positively since it “encourages students to challenge themselves by taking harder classes”. As long as students focus on their own success rather than comparing themselves to their peers, the detrimental aspects will be limited, but this is easier said than done. 

It is unclear what the fate of the county’s class ranking system will be. Some schools and districts around the country have been moving towards eliminating it altogether while others are seeking ways to make it more equitable. Here at Dulaney, a recent survey revealed that 62% of students agree we should keep the current system based on QPA. Regardless of your rank, remember not to put your worth as a student or as a person on that single number; you are so much more than just classes and grades.