For the 2020-2021 fall semester, McNicholas High School will no longer include class rank on students’ report cards.
The use of class rankings stems mainly from tradition, as high schools all over the country begin moving away from the system as a way to eliminate competition and encourage individual success.
“I think it will help a lot with stress and anxiety,” counselor Alaina Way said. “It will be easier to focus on doing the best they can do.”
Competition among the student body with respect to class ranking creates a small margin of error for McNicholas students. This competition can spur anxiety about academic performance. According to Way, the difference in rank is so small that it is not representative of the success of students. Rank has been used by some colleges in the application process, however other factors such as GPA and ACT/SAT scores tend to pull more weight than rankings.
“Class rank has actually hurt some of our students when it comes to applying to competitive schools. As we know, our academics at McNicholas are very rigorous and our students are outstanding and therefore a student’s rank would be much higher at many other schools,” Director of Curriculum Dan Rosenbaum said. “Since we have many students clustered with similar GPAs, a small change in GPA can result in a large change in class rank in either direction and that does not reflect what sort of student the applicant is.”
According to Rosenbaum, many of McNicholas’ competing schools do not rank their students for similar reasons. “I don’t really think the rankings matter,” junior Lauden Brooks said. The school will still recognize top achieving students at graduation, and the only major change is that ranks will not be published in report cards.
Administrators and department chairs have been discussing eliminating class rank for the past two years in an attempt to create a more holistic review of the student body at McNicholas.
“As far as competition goes, I am a believer that competitive people will compete whether we rank or not,” Rosenbaum said.