Counterpoint: Would class ranking work to motivate Schreiber students?

Sabina Unni, Opinions Editor Emeritus

High school students are not always outspoken about their opinions. But upon asking students to voice their opinions about class ranking at Schreiber, almost undoubtedly, one will be met with overwhelmingly negative responses. One may wonder how a school can be so anti-class ranking when it has never
had the system in place. The reason is simple: a class rank system proves itself to be a poor system and Schreiber should continue its practice of prioritizing learning over insignificant rankings that breed insecurity.
A class rank system promotes unhealthy competition within schools. In any high school, competition among students is present and mostly beneficial. For example, if two friends in a class were trying to outscore each other on a test in the same class, that kind of competition would serve as motivation. However, GPA is a lot more complicated. Trying to compete with every kid in a grade for as arbitrary a measure as the best GPA will promote erratic behavior in order to boost GPAs. It would encourage a dropping of classes that a student cannot get honors credit in, even if he might enjoy the non-
honors option more and learn more in that class.
“I’m against it. I think there’s enough competition in this school. Each student should only need to compete with himself or herself, to be the best they could be,” said senior Jesse
Epstein.
A class rank system
also prioritizes the wrong aspects of a high school education. It is well known that a high GPA is important for college admissions. But a class rank system
might help to overemphasize a system that everyone already knows is important. High school classes should not be about beating other students; they should be about learning and preparing for the future.
“I think it is not necessary because it fuels a cutthroat, pressurized atmosphere that makes education a competition rather than an enjoyable experience for students,” said junior Milan Sani.
Not only should education be for the sake of bettering yourself, but for the sake of mental health and personal enjoyment. And the school would be completely ignoring the latter two by implementing a class rank system. School cannot be a safe and fun environment if rivalries between students are promoted and encouraged.
“I don’t mind that the school doesn’t release an official class rank. Colleges evaluate you within the context of your school, and personally I think having a class rank is just another way for students to compare themselves with other students in an unhealthy way,” said senior Elizabeth Muratore.
Many universities, specifically state schools, offer guaranteed admission and scholarships based upon class rank, such as in Texas and Alaska. This system is deeply flawed for a variety of reasons. The concept of admissions based upon GPA is troublesome: one student’s 5.0 at a certain high school may be the same as another student’s 2.0 at another.
It seems, however, that schools are already starting to wise up to to the ineffectiveness of the policy; according to the National Association of Secondary School Principals, up to 50% of schools do not report class rank.
There is another thing to be said about prioritizing GPA over learning. Instead of valuing students’ individual accomplishments, a class rank essentially says that a student’s standing is equivalent to his or her GPA. So many factors go into students’ eligibility and appeal to colleges that students should not equate their class rank to their worth to colleges or to the world.
“I think class rank is a poor way of measuring students because each person is so unique and assigning a number on a scale to each person subverts that uniqueness and ignores it. It also increases senses of superiority/inferiority and competition, which I think is destructive,” said senior Dylan Rothman.
One’s GPA is certainly important to one’s future, as is trying hard in school. But class rank does not help promote these principles, it merely aids in unhealthy and non-edifying competition. Schreiber is justified in not reporting these statistics as they do nothing to improve or develop students’ academic skills and merely lead to more stress and anger.