A Problem with Rankings

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Recently, sophomore, juniors, and seniors have been issued their class rankings.

Students seeing how their grades rank in comparison to their peers does not help the work environment. Some even choose not to pick up their rankings at all, or they keep their number to themselves.

Ranking puts an emphasis on the numerical grades given in core classes, causing a lack of focus on learning and absorbing material. Students just want to see their number go up.

Students are losing sight of what we come to school for. A thirst for knowledge should be what motivates students academically, not a ranking number that seems to pitch them against their peers.

On the day the counselors hand out rankings, many different reactions can be observed as students gather around the table to receive a personal number.

There are the students that jump up and down, celebrating a rank that was probably higher than they expected, or the ones that wear disappointment on their faces like a mask. Still, there are others that shrug and throw the paper away with a frown as if the number fulfilled their low expectations of themselves.

The rest of the day, after you discover your rank, you are asked to repeat it multiple times by other curious students. It becomes a part of your identification.

“Oh yeah, she’s number 172.”

“You see him over there, he’s number 2.”

Once someone hears what your rank is, they’re not going to look at you the same way afterwards, especially if the number is significantly high or low.

But is this really the purpose of class ranks, to further create a gap between students that succeed and those who aren’t as motivated?

A problem with work ethic can be a result of class rankings. This year, teachers issued honor statements to ensure that students wouldn’t use any unapproved methods of receiving answers for school work this year. In other words, they wanted written word that students wouldn’t cheat on anything this school year.

Perhaps cheating wouldn’t be as much of a problem if students weren’t so focused on getting the perfect grades to make it possible to move up the totem pole of class ranks.

Students cheat because they don’t trust their own ability to get the work done on time or correctly. Maybe, if there wasn’t such a stress on getting the top grades, students might relax a little bit and do the work themselves.

Thankfully, not everyone resorts to cheating in order to be in the top of their class. Many students that get there by pure hard work, and their achievements should not be undermined. Class rankings can work in many cases to stir up students and motivate them to take their classes seriously, but the negative side effects seem to outweigh the positive as of right now.

The problem with class rankings doesn’t come from the act of handing out ranks to students, it comes from the way that students react to them.

Rankings are supposed to be a motivational tool for our benefit, but some attach too much importance to a number. It’s good to know how students stand in comparison to their peers to gauge whether they need to try harder or keep doing what they’re doing, but that’s the extent of it. A simple number can never define the complex person that it represents, nor should it be treated as so. Ranks are not meant to be taken personally.

**This article is purely the author’s
opinion, and does not necessarily reflect those of The Round-Up Online, anyone else affiliated with the website, or McAllen Memorial High School.

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A Problem with Rankings