Class rank is becoming a thing of the past


Class ranks are a numerical system that organizes students in a graduating class based on their grades. Colleges will oftentimes ask students for these, although for students of AHS this is not mandatory to fill out because the school
does not provide these rankings. FCPS discontinued this practice and valedictorians years ago and now Loudoun County is following in its footsteps.

The Loudoun County School Board has recently voted to remove the class rank system from their schools on Oct. 29. They plan to withdraw it starting with the freshman class of next school year. Instead, a new system will be applied using the student’s grade point average to organize students in the top 5 percent, 10 percent or 20 percent of their graduating class.

While finding the reasoning behind not using a class rank system may be hard to do, students and teachers have many opinions on it. “I’ve been working at AHS for a very long time, and I honestly don’t remember if the FCPS policy not to rank students was implemented before I became a counselor or after,” AHS counselor Cheryl Kim said. “All I know is that the policy was set a long time ago. Since this is a county-wide policy, I don’t think I can really speak to the reasoning behind it.”

Using class rank, colleges can assess the degree to which students have taken advantage of the opportunities offered to them by their school. It is a great way to see how students differ from others with similar resources, but a major problem is that not all high schools provide students with equal opportunities. One school might offer multiple honors and IB classes while another might only have one or two.

Each student’s academic experience is unique and personalized for them and their grade point averages should not be compared or ranked. In FCPS, we have so many different course options, some with weighted grades and some unweighted grades. Students should be able to choose coursework that both meets graduation requirements and includes appropriate rigor based upon their interests and post-secondary plans.

Additionally, each student is encouraged to have a well rounded high school experience that includes co-curricular
and extracurricular activities allowing for a healthy balance between academics and social experiences.

Senior Kalkedan Malefia has her own belief on why all schools should stop using class ranks. “We are always told that getting into college isn’t just about getting good grades, but having a class rank makes it seem like it is,” Malefia said. “Besides, colleges also conduct admissions on a regional basis, meaning that student’s regional admissions officers will likely be familiar with the difficulty level of our schools. They should also have a general idea of our standing even if our school doesn’t rank.”