Dartnell- Education Writing.docx - fairviewAPenglish2011

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					Robert Dartnell

A.P. English Language and Composition

Mr. Lane

Education Writing Assignment

                                   Class Rank in High Schools

       What is your class rank? This is an important question most high school students have a

tough time answering. For the truth is, the highly debated class ranking system is disappearing

quickly in schools across the United States. Americans today tend to believe that class rank is

harming some of the best and brightest students our country has to offer. However, a number of

colleges and universities have recently suggested that without a class ranking system in

American schools, they must “make less informed decisions or overemphasize results on

standardized testsas” (Finder). While it is true that ranking students makes choices easier for

colleges, it does not necessarily follow that irrational decisions regarding student acceptance

must be made. In this essay, the advantages of class rank will be discussed, and it will become

obvious that the class ranking system should be abolished.

       How is class rank found? The concept of class ranking is:

               a mathematical summary of a student's academic record as

               compared with other students in [his or] her class. It usually takes

               into account both the degree of difficulty of the courses a student is

               taking (AP.., honors, college-preparatory, or regular courses) and

               the grade she earns in those courses.”(
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The students in each grade level earn a grade point average, or GPA, and are ranked among their

peers. Class rank once played a vital role in the college admissions process and many unaware

Americans still assume that it is beneficial to keep in schools across the United States. I disagree

with these views becausesd “[r]esearch indicates that up to 50% of schools no longer report class

rank” ( Why would so many schools reconsider class rank? Ultimately, the issue

here is that high school students want to highlight other interesting characteristics other than

class rank. The outcome of this reasoning is that “thousands of high schools have simply

stopped providing that information, concluding it could harm the chances of their very good, but

not best, students” (Finder). It is apparent that class rank mars the transcripts of almost every

student in any given high school.

       The mere phrase class rank seems to bring migraines to high school administrators,

students, colleges, and universities across the United States. Although not all colleges and

universities think alike, some of them will probably dispute my claim that class rank should be

removed or modified.sdfNew York Times columnist Alan Finder claims that “many college deans

deplore the trend” and “the process has left them exasperated” (Finder). Finder acknowledges

that some schools like Vanderbilt University, located in Nashville, Tennessee, accept far fewer

students that do not provide a class rank in their college application. These findings have

important consequences in the domain of acceptance. “Colleges and universities have responded

by developing their own systems of ranking students and calculating projected class ranks,”

( urges most college preparation websites. Although these facts may seem trivial

to the average American, it is in fact crucial that colleges make well informed decisions about

potential students. I believe that students should have the opportunity to give their class rank to

colleges that absolutely need it in order to make a decision regarding acceptance. In other words,
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I presume that modifying the class ranking system in high schools may keep colleges,

universities, and students happy.

       In the discussion of class rank, one controversial issue has been the identification of

valedictorian and salutatorian. On one hand, a school’s highest ranking students argue that they

should be solely congratulated at the graduation ceremony. On the other hand, students with a

4.0 grade point average who have worked exceptionally hard in high school contend that all high

achieving students should be acknowledged. In this competitive era, a student with a very high

grade point average, who has taken numerous Honors and Advanced Placement classes, may

have a difficult time landing in the top twenty-fifth percentile of his or her class. How should a

gifted student of this caliber explain this dilemma to potential colleges? Oak Park High School,

a small, highly competitive school located in southern California insists that “[a]t a high

performing school such as ours, it is a challenge to adequately give recognition to so many

outstanding students” (Oak Park High School). Oak Park’s removal of the ranking system sheds

light on the difficult problem of recognition.

       I agree that class rank should be removed from American schools because my

experiences at Fairview High confirm it. Fairview is also an extremely competitive school

district with bright students who consistently perform well on standardized tests. By keeping

class rank at Fairview, the school district would be forgetting copious numbers of seniors that

have kept an incredible work ethic throughout their high school career. Additionally, a reporter

for the Dallas News claimed, “[r]elying so heavily on class rank, some admissions officers and

others suggest, ignores qualities like leadership, creativity and other virtues colleges want to see

in their graduateshg” (Hacker). In other words, when universities simply look at class rank in a
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student’s application they are missing the big picture. "’[Y]ou're also going to run into that Bill

Gates or Michael Dell who had talents other than having a high GPA in high school’,” advises

the director of admissions research at the University of Texas, Gary Lavergne (as cited in

Hacker). My own view is that colleges should look past class rank and either modify or remove

the system.

       But is the deletion of class rank realistic? What are the chances of class rank actually

being personalized or even removed in all American schools? Professionals note that “according

to a recent report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) over

half of all high schools no longer report student rankings.” On one hand I can relate to the

frustration caused by class rank to colleges. But on the other hand, I still insist that class rank

should not be posted in high school. However, without class rank, colleges claim to be restricted

to making uninformed and rash admission decisions. Experts note “[t]hat allows colleges to

estimate where a student ranks. Still, some institutions, especially larger universities, may not

have the time for that” (Finder). Nevertheless, both GPA and SAT scores could determine where

a student falls in his or her class. With a system where a student can fall from first to eighth by

taking just one elective class, it may be beneficial to colleges to spend a bit more time looking at

the whole student.

       I think a good compromise would allow students to have the option of obtaining their

class rank to present to colleges and universities which require class rank, such as military

academies. The idea of removing class rank in every high school throughout the United States

may seem farfetched and the debate may continue for years. However, for the majority of

American students the removal of ranking decreases the tension and highlights portions of the

transcripts that may not have ever been reviewed by universities. High school principals
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nationwide reported that the number of seniors admitted to state universities has increased since

abandoning class rankings. This statistic is a fantastic example of the benefits of removing class

rank. It is hard for me to believe that it has taken so long for the shortcomings of the ranking

system to acquire opposition.
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Finder, Alan. “Schools Avoid Class Ranking, Vexing Colleges.”The New York Times: Education.

       New York Times Online. 5 March 2006. Web. 5 March 2010.

“Class Rank & College Admissions” CollegeBoard, n.d.

       Web. n.p.

“Class Rank, GPA, and Grading.” NASSP, n.d.

       Web. n.p.

Grade Point Average Calculations, Class Rank & More.”

       Ophs, 2007. n.p.

Hacker, Holly. “ Class Rank is low on many colleges’ lists.” The Dallas Morning News.

       Dallas News Online. 2 Dec 2007. Web. 5 March 2010.

              Name                                                        Date

Area                               Score         Comments
Ideas and Content                          10
Organization                               10
Word Choice                                 9
Sentence Fluency                            9
Voice                                      10
Lower Order Concerns                        9
Presentation (Research Guide)               9
Insight                                     8
Support                                    10
Introduction and Conclusion                10
TOTAL                                      94
GRADE out of 50                            47 Even though you are making an argument, you create a very
                                              convicing and objective tone; see comments regarding clarity a
                                              context; revise LOCs
Dartnell 7

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