District 196 Contemplates a Future without Class Rank

Elsie Goren, Co-Editor-in-Chief

District 196 is considering replacing its class rank system with a Latin honors approach in the upcoming school years. Instead of classifying students based on their GPA, District 196’s high schools would present students with designations of summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or simply cum laude.

These Latin denominations would be informed by a student’s percentile rank. The title of summa cum laude would be reserved for individuals in the 90th percentile whereas magna cum laude would entitle students in the 80th to 90th percentile. Individuals in the 70th to 80th percentile would acquire the label of cum laude. Additionally, the leading ten students of a particular graduating class would no longer be recognized or appreciated at the finish of a school year.

While individuals would not see their class rank on report cards, it would still be attainable if a college requested the number. Students would have the opportunity to view their class rank by emailing their assigned counselor for permission, then reporting the findings to their desired college.

Although the idea of eradicating class rank originated in the district a year ago, it wasn’t formally addressed until recently when District 196 School Board members reviewed a draft proposal. If it is approved, it will take effect in the 2016-2017 school year.

While this proposition may seem drastic or abnormal, it’s actually a nationwide trend. According to a current study by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), over half of all high schools in the United States no longer disclose class ranks to students. Across Minnesota, this claim is certainly prevalent as demonstrated by the array of high schools taking action to eliminate the class rank system. Numerous public and private schools in the metropolitan area including Edina, Bloomington, and Hopkins have already removed the concept of class rank.

If this notion is implemented, controversy will undoubtedly arise. Some high-achieving individuals believe a top class rank is worthy of celebration and favor the class rank system as it will allow for recognition and assist in their admission to prestigious colleges. Alternatively, other students and their parents state class rank is not a relevant or meaningful number and could possibly harm one’s chances of being admitted to a college if it’s not prominent enough.