Class rank reduces student to a number

Kavita O'Malley, Social Media Manager

Every student at Jackson-Reed, and many other high schools nationwide, has a number corresponding to their “rank” within their grade. This number is based on each student’s weighted GPA in every class as well as the level of the class (on-level, honors, or AP). Class rank is an arbitrary, hurtful, and antiquated system that Jackson-Reed shouldn’t buy into. 

For one, because it is reliant on your weighted GPA, the number of higher level classes taken has a big impact on how high in the rankings you are. Of course, it is important to always push yourself, but the rank system incentivizes students to fill their entire schedules with AP classes. This level of academic pressure is highly detrimental to mental health. Now maybe that is realistic for some, but not for all. Aside from the mental burden, students of color are commonly underrepresented in AP classes which is a problem unto itself but also means that they won’t be able to have a high class rank. 

Even though no one’s self worth should be dependent on their class rank, it can still be discouraging to feel like you are achieving at a high level but then look at your class rank and see that you aren’t close to the top. 

Class rank is commonly used in application processes for summer programs, dual enrollment, and college applications. At schools where it is used, students are expected to submit it with their transcripts. This means that for some, opportunities may be out of reach because the linear system of class rank doesn’t take into account other factors that might be at play. At this point, with Jackson-Reed’s awareness of mental health and the role of race in education, class rank is out of date. Jackson-Reed needs to abolish class rank to show that their real priority is our education. 

Without class rank, people will focus more on learning what they want to learn rather than taking the classes they think they need to take to be number one. Giving students a number establishes a hierarchy, plays into racial biases, takes away from the real purpose of education, and needs to be thrown away sooner rather than later. •