I will be quite blunt here; it is imperative that the Warren County School District keep its class ranking system, for the sake of the students.
The reason why this is even an issue is because of a controversy that stemmed from students taking Dual Enrollment courses. A group of students including myself approached the School Board on fixing the district’s grading policy almost two years ago, yet there is still no long-term solution to the problem. So instead, the School Board shows their incompetence and questions the whole validity of class ranking to begin with.
Class ranking is a driving force for many top achieving students. My friends and I would check our ranks at the beginning of each school year because we saw education as a learning opportunity, as well as a competition. Applying to college is extremely competitive as we all know, and colleges are looking for students who stand out amongst their peers. Yes, Warren Area High School happens to be bigger than Sheffield High School, and on paper a valedictorian at Warren may seem more significant than at Sheffield. But if 10 students, or roughly 20-25 percent of the senior class at Sheffield High School all graduate with highest honors, colleges will question the school’s academic rigor. I always thought getting students into the best colleges was one of the main goals of a School District. It’s not perfect, but ranking students is the most effective indicator of a student’s drive and ability other than standardized testing.
One idea conjured up is for students to be given a rank only when they apply to colleges, and eliminate the system for graduating purposes. The logical flaw though is that students are going to figure out who is at the top of their graduating class regardless, simply because of curiosity. For students who tried hard but didn’t quite make it, being valedictorian by no means will determine your success in life. It’s a life lesson to be learned early on that sometimes no matter hard we try, we will come up short. However, our reaction to setback will surely determine our fate.
Can we not honor at least three students at commencement for a remarkable achievement because they outperformed their peers? Why is there a need to eliminate a long-standing tradition in this district, which has not come under scrutiny until recent times? I plead that the School Board gives more thought to President Stewart’s opinion on the matter, instead of dodging the real issue in the district’s grading policy. I may have just graduated, but I care as much as any parent about our children’s educational future.