Written by Kitty Shortt |
Here at The Morgan School, after freshman year, students know their class rank. At some point in a student’s sophomore year, whether during the independent planning meeting or when Guidance Counselors go over Naviance and career paths, students receive their class rank. A person’s class rank is a number, out of the number of students in their class. Class rank shows their “place” in terms of grades in relation to their classmates. At the end of senior year, the first two students in each class are deemed valedictorian and salutatorian and each gives a speech at graduation. Valedictorians and salutatorians are also eligible for prestigious college scholarships because of their rank.
During junior year at Morgan, students who rank in the top ten get many honors including Morgan jackets awarded to them by the school board. The top ten are also honored in feature articles in both the Pawprint and local newspapers. Throughout the four years students are very competitive, and sometimes, one bad test grade or one missed homework assignment can drop a student a place or even a few. Many high honors and high achieving students think that the class rank system adds unneeded stress to students already stressful daily lives.
Some students like Morgan’s class rank system because it shows where they stand in comparison to their classmates. Class rank helps to motivate students to do better because they want to be in the top ten percent, top ten, or even valedictorian and salutatorian. Sophomore Dan Radka said that “Without class rank, many students like myself would be less inclined to strive for such high grades because they wouldn’t be trying to be ‘beat’ or achieve more than their peers for prestigious academic honors.”
Junior Wyatt Reu disagrees with the how our school goes about class rank. “Having access to Class rank as early on as sophomore year contributes to many students, a mindset founded on performing for rank (a number) and comparing yourself to others rather than doing your best and learning for the sake of learning…By removing access to underclassmen, we can reduce a lot of the tension and unhealthy competition that is common in the top performing portions of the class.”
Wyatt and junior Andie Carse proposed a new system of class rank that they are hoping will be embraced by the administration and maybe even enacted at Morgan. In this new system, students would receive letters over the summer before their junior year telling them whether or not they are a part of the top ten percent but not revealing their exact standing. Having this knowledge is important because students need to know how well they do in comparison to their peers as they look into different colleges. When class rank would normally be finalized halfway through senior year, the valedictorian and salutatorian will be informed of their position. Students in the top ten percent will also be informed again without a specific ranking number.
Other schools on the Shoreline, both private and public, do not have a class rank system. Carolyn Xenelis is in the Class of 2018 at The Williams School, where students have zero access to their class rank. Carolyn agrees with the fact that her school does not include class rank because she thinks this policy eliminates stress and unnecessary competition in school that is already stressful enough: “Being compared and ranked with your peers creates turmoil as everyone’s goal is to make it to the top (hence, making other students drop). Class rank is also detrimental to students’ morals, as your worth and value as a student are much more than a GPA. Though extremely evident, the effect class rank has on your personal moral is just half of the issue. The judgment placed on those lower in the rank can lead to negativity and even bullying. Every student learns differently and has different strengths and weaknesses. Instead of pinning students against one another, ranking their worth on one single number, we should be celebrating the accomplishments of each and every student and motivating them all to reach their own full potential.”
Students will continue to debate the pros and cons to different class rank systems and ask the administration to consider different policies before determining what is best for the students of Morgan.