The Williamson County School Board voted this week to eliminate class rank, citing its declining importance in applying for college.
The new policy takes full effect for the class of 2020. Class rank will be restricted to the top 10 percent for 2018 and 2019.
While schools will not rank students numerically, there will still be honors recognition using the Latin system with the following GPAs: Summa Cum Laude 4.25 and above, Magna Cum Laude 4.00-4.24 and Cum Laude 3.75-3.99. Valedictorian and salutatorian will be chosen using criteria for academic performance and community service.
High schools nationwide have been moving away from using class rank for more than a decade, but the trend was initially met with frustration by college officials.
Back in 2006, The New York Times reported that “many college deans deplore the trend, saying it forces them to either recreate class rank, make less informed decisions or overemphasize results on standardized tests.”
William Shain, then the dean of undergraduate admissions at Vanderbilt University, told The Times, “There’s a movement these days to not let anybody know that a kid has done better than other kids.”
The push for eliminating class rank is motivated in part by a desire for colleges to look at students as more than just a number and consider a wider range of accomplishments.
The criteria for valedictorian and salutatorian will be as follows:
- Student must qualify for the highest Latin system honor (4.25 or higher GPA)
- Student must sit for the AP exam for every course in which enrolled and must achieve a score of 3 or above on 75 percent of AP exams taken.
- Student will participate in at least 20 hours of community service above and beyond any other community service required by other organizations. Student must provide documentation of the completed community service hours and documentation of the completed community service hours required by other organizations to their counselor.
- If multiple students meet the criteria, then the highest achieved ACT composite becomes a factor.