Idea of class ranking ranks last in minds of Dougherty students

Steven Deng, Copy Editor

A class ranking system, which measures a student’s performance comparatively against others, usually by comparing GPA, is largely unfavored by the majority of students at Dougherty. The main reason behind this is mainly that it will create even more competition and stress at Dougherty.
A recent poll conducted at Dougherty found that 60.9 percent of respondents, which included students and teachers, did not favor having a class ranking system at Dougherty while only 39.1 percent thought that Dougherty should have such a system. The main reason cited among the respondents for not having a class ranking system was that it would increase unhealthy pressure on students. However, proponents of a class ranking system commonly argued that it would motivate students to perform better and that students should be able to know where they stand among other students at Dougherty comparatively.
Stress is a serious issue at Dougherty that has many unhealthy side effects. Opponents of a class ranking system argue that adding a class ranking system would exacerbate this problem.
“We are trying to reduce stress, so I think adding a rank basically increases the student’s chance of feeling like they’re not up to par with their peers,” says Liana Wong, a counselor at Dougherty “I think that students really should basically do what they want what they’re passionate about doing.”
In addition to stress, a class ranking system fosters more rivalry, which has its own harms and benefits. While this may help some students to perform better, it also causes unhealthy levels of stress.
Mr. Harari, a math teacher here at Dougherty says that “Unfortunately, I think, students already feel like they’re competing with other students and publishing no rank list is just gonna make that get amped up even more.”
“Competition is good, don’t get me wrong, I used to coach and it’s all about doing your best,” states Mr. Dave Kravitz, the principal at Dougherty, while addressing the issue about competition due to a class ranking system.
“But, I firmly believe, if you do your best, you’re going to have more success, more wins than losses, but losses, that’s how we learn.”
Many students are also concerned about how a class rank would affect college applications. However, this may not be an issue at all. Carrie Fox, another counselor at Dougherty, says that there’s not a negative effect of not ranking. Instead, colleges just don’t consider that in their review process.
Instead of preventing colleges from accurately comparing and evaluating students, having a class rank may actually hinder colleges from assessing students as a whole and from considering their full range of skills. “Basically, students are not assigned to a certain number,” explains Mrs. Wong, “It’s important that when students apply for colleges they’re not being looked at as a number, but they’re basically being evaluated as a whole student.”
Besides increasing stress and competition, a class ranking system and GPA also often don’t accurately measure a student’s success.
“If we’re going to do rankings just to go by GPA, that does not give the full picture of a student’s academic record or academic projections for success at the collegiate level,” says Mr. Kravitz, “And it’s not all about your GPA, that does not predict how successful you’re going to be in life or in college even. It’s important. We want to do our best. We want to earn whatever we can earn but at the same time let’s take the focus off just a number.”
Similarly, Mr. Harari, who worked in the corporate world before becoming a teacher at Dougherty, explains how learning is the ultimate goal and grades really don’t matter in the future.
“Their focus should be on trying to learn as much as they can and get as much out of the high school experience as they can,” says Mr. Harari, “I don’t think it is important about where you go to college as so many people perceive, coming from a guy who’s hired lots and lots of people…There’s too much emphasis on where you go to school.”
On the other hand, class ranking may motivate students to perform better by fostering positive competition. According to an article published by The Glossary of Education Reform, “Class ranking can create positive academic competition, motivate students to work harder, and deservedly recognize and reward high-achieving students who may have pursued a more challenging course of study.” However, this view is not shared by many.
In addition, implementing a class ranking system may also increase the diversity of students who attend state universities. An article posted on National Association of Secondary School Principals, explains how some lawmakers passed statutes that require students to be admitted to state universities based on class rank. In doing this, they hoped to “open enrollment at state universities to a wider range of individual schools across a state.”
Regarding these new statutes, the article goes on to state that with the new policy, more high schools within the state sent students to the University of Texas. Using class rank as a factor for admission to colleges appears to help increase diversity and benefit underperforming students from high-poverty areas, who previously had difficulty gaining admission to more competitive colleges.
While some students may want a class ranking system at Dougherty because it’ll motivate students and allow them to personally see where they stand academically compared to others, the large majority of students disagree because of how it’ll worsen stress and competition levels at Dougherty. However, the notion of reinstating a class ranking system is not being considered within the district.