Class rank needs to be revisited by Humble ISD school board


Photo by Maria Landy Garcia

Blanca Cantu, Opinion Editor

Growing up, most are told how high school is supposed to be the time where you have fun and learn more about who you are as a person. However, once you get to high school it becomes apparent that you simply won’t have as much freedom as you originally believed, and not because of strict parents or lack of social skills.

Class rank, a constant stress for students, keeps high-achieving students constantly wondering if they are good enough to pursue their academic dreams. Many districts in Texas, such as Highland Park, Coppell, and Carroll ISD, have worked around this stressful practice by only ranking its top 10 percent of students. Clearly, getting rid of class rank is something that districts can accomplish. However, Humble ISD seems to still be stuck in this tradition. The reality of this situation is that Humble ISD needs to seriously look into this topic and realize that their ranking practice needs to undergo massive overhaul.

Obviously, the students who finish among the top are smart. They are taking honors classes and doing well.

However, the mentality created through obsessing over rank can hurt students’ interest in learning. Not only that, though, most students trying to have high GPA’s have to take a crazy amount of honors courses. This causes many students to sleep only four hours a night. They are staying up late doing homework for all the AP courses they managed to shove in their schedule.

Plano ISD changed their policy when a petition on gained an overwhelming amount of supporters when it showed class rank caused cheating, anxiety and sleep deprivation, which can lead to heart disease and high blood pressure.

When a student is having to constantly worry about if their one B on their report card will end their chances of success, it’s not good. When they put themselves through an AP course they find tedious and boring just for the sake of rank, they quickly stop seeing learning as something they enjoy.

Spending four years of robotically signing up for certain classes just because it’d give them a higher GPA, and thus higher ranking, simply causes students to become shallow when it comes to what they consider an achievement. It is not about if they have properly learned a subject or enjoyed it, but if they managed to get an A average.

Plano ISD has made changes in order to avoid this issue. Now, students are only told their rank if they specifically ask for it; and a student’s GPA is calculated with just the grades they have in their core classes. This allows students to focus on the courses they deem interesting instead of what they know will give them a higher GPA.

It is understandable that some high schools haven’t bothered to get rid of this, for Texas requires that high schools rank its top 10 students so that they can get automatically accepted into certain state universities (Texas A&M accepts top 10%, UT top 6%.) Many schools have adapted their policies to keep with the state requirements while also creating a system better for their students.

For schools that have already changed their ranking policy, the positives have been quickly seen. Eanes School District in Austin decided to not rank 90 percent of its students back in 2013. Through doing that they saw student’s acceptance rates rise 39 percent higher at the University of Texas-Austin and 49 percent higher for Texas A&M.

The reason being credited is that colleges are forced to look more into a student’s profile and academic achievements not surrounding their rank, causing them to discover more students who clearly show the capability to succeed at their university.

Though getting rid of class rank within a district is tedious, Humble ISD’s school board should seriously look at their options. Getting rid of rank clearly doesn’t hurt a student’s chance of going to college, and students should be encouraged to experience classes and programs they find interesting, rather than just classes meant to boost their ranking.