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Washburn to End the Practice of ‘Ranking’ Students

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In May, 2017 the Washburn Site Council approved the recommendation made by the counseling staff that Washburn remove class rank from transcripts beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. We are falling in line with how most college-prep high schools in Minnesota practice and the practice that most college-prep high schools on the East Coast have been doing for more than a decade.
Below is a summary of some of the points that were presented at the May meeting as compelling evidence to make this change:
  • Rank is essentially meaningless in system where grades are not weighted
  • The differences in grade-point averages among high-achieving students are usually statistically insignificant. It’s therefore both pointless and misleading to single out the one (or ten) at the top
  • Un-ranking will reduce unnecessary stress for those near the top of the class who track rank. Rank tends to fosters unhealthy competition and shifts the focus away from learning.  Washburn will still report decile in the School Profile that is sent to college. If there is a financial or admissions-based incentive for a student who would be ranked #1 in the class in applying to a particular college, the counselor can simply include a statement attesting to this in the student’s file to be sent to the admissions committee. 
  • Non-ranking students may encourage more students to take challenging classes
  • MACAC (Minnesota Association of College Admission Counselors) reports the majority of high schools surveyed stated they no longer reported class rank OR they are considering the possibility of dropping the procedure of reporting Class Rank . 
  • Colleges and universities indicate that omission of class rank is not harmful to applicants as sufficient information exists on the transcript, school profile, and counselor report form to contextualize a student’s academic performance. Colleges and universities do not consider grade point average or grade point distributions as actual class rank. Consequently, admissions counselors do not need to include this information as a statistic in their profile of admitted students. Therefore, in schools where rank is NOT reported, admissions committees are able to look more holistically at a student rather than dismissing her or him on the basis of a single class rank number. The GPA distribution chart or GPA range would still allow college admission officers to see where a student stands.

Contact your school guidance counselor if you have quesions.