PTSO seeks to eliminate class rank

Parents proposed eliminating class rank at a recent Parent Teacher Student Organisation (PTSO) meeting, and the proposal has since been discussed by the Local School Advisory Team (LSAT). So far, no moves have been made to actually eliminate the ranking system.

Currently, students are ranked based on their weighted grade point averages (GPA), where the student with the highest GPA is the valedictorian and holds rank one. Some members of the PTSO believe that eliminating class rank will alleviate unnecessary competition between students.

Ninth grade PTSO representative Laurie Aladjem, who has been leading the push to eliminate class rank, believes that “[top] students are often only one-tenth of a point or less apart.” Aladjem adds that class rank encourages students to pile up on APs to get an edge over their peers. “This fuels competition, and doesn’t help foster a sense of community or collaboration,” she said.

When asked about how class rank would be removed, and whether colleges would still be able to determine it, the parent groups were uncertain. They noted that the change is still in its early phases and it is unclear how the plan will be rolled out.

Some students agreed with the parents, stating that class rankings cause them to ignore electives they would have otherwise been interested in, just because they’re on-level. “[If] class rankings didn’t have so much pressure, I would definitely feel free to take a lot more art classes and a lot more stuff like that,” said junior Ian Tackes.

Junior Claire Brandes disagrees. “Classes that aren’t AP or honors at Wilson don’t prepare you for college whatsoever, so even if I wasn’t ranked I’d still be taking them,” she said.

Brandes was not the only student uncertain about the idea of ending class rankings. In a survey that The Beacon conducted of 100 students, only 50 percent said they know what class rank is. Of those 50 students, only one-third wanted to get rid of them.

But even for students who are focused on college applications, class rank may not be that important. “A lot of schools have gotten rid of [class rank]. As a result, a lot of colleges don’t even necessarily consider that,” said LSAT teacher representative Patrick Cassidy.      

Despite the action by the PTSO, the LSAT has not yet acted on the issue. “There was no decision. There was not even a call for a vote. There was just a general discussion,” said Cassidy, who was present at the last LSAT meeting.