What’s My Rank? – Class Rank Discussions in City Schools of Decatur Board Work Session

Class rank was one of the main topics of discussion at the City Schools of Decatur (CSD) Board Work Session on Tuesday.

District Lead Counselor, Kimberly Jones, led a presentation regarding how class rankings seem to cause disruptions for student learning and unhealthy amounts of student competition. 

“We’re seeing unhealthy levels of competition, we’re seeing students that are gaming the system by taking certain courses just for the sake of padding their GPAs for rank,” said Jones.

“So rather than taking a course because I’m interested in A.P. Environmental Science or because I want to be a chemist . . ., they’re taking those classes because they have the grade bump and that’s going to benefit them in their race to be number 1.”

Jones mentioned that even though schools have already communicated that class ranks are adjusted in January and June only, counselors are still “bombarded” by emails regarding class rank every 6 weeks once a “progress report” comes out. 

“It’s beginning to feel like that’s more of the emphasis.”

While the presentation noted that class rank will no longer be put on the transcripts of CSD students, it still seems that there needs to be more discussion over some of the finer details of the policy. Such as finding a way to dictate who will be the Valedictorian or Salutatorian of classes.

On the last slide of the presentation there was a message that read “THE SKY REMAINS THE LIMIT FOR CSD LEARNERS… Not reporting class rank will not make our student’s skies fall.” 

It seems that many in attendance were also in agreement with these sentiments.

Other school districts (both locally and nationally) also do not showcase class rank on student transcripts.

Class rank is a “mathematical summary of a student’s academic record compared to those of other students in the class,” as mentioned by College Board, a not for profit organization that helps prepare students for college.

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