As many students may have noticed, in Aeries Gradebook they are given a number that ranks them in relation to the GPAs of the rest of their classmates. This ranking system may soon be no more, as at a recent board meeting, a proposition was made to remove it from students’ transcripts, as CHS faculty have come to the conclusion that it presents an overall detriment to student college applications.
The push for the removal of this statistic, called decile rank and found under the transcripts section in Aeries, comes largely from counselors Darren Johnston and Jeff Schatz, as well as from Principal Rick Lopez. The statistic, which has been used since Johnston and Schatz arrived in the 2007, places students into tiers separated by every 10 percentiles.
Carmel High has become much more competitive over past years, and Johnston explains why such a statistic is becoming more outdated for the school, as student GPAs reflect.
“Back in the day, your top 10 percent would have been a wide range,” Johnston informs , “from about a 4.68 all the way down to a 4.3. The second decile would be from 4.2 to 3.9.”
However, as the school becomes increasingly competitive, these top deciles shrink drastically in range. Johnston says that the top decile today would likely range from a 4.6 to a 4.46, the second from 4.45 down to a 4.28 and the third from 4.27 to a 4.07.
“Now you have a student who has a weighted 4.26, which is solid, in the third decile,” Johnston observes. As a result, he explains, some colleges will dismiss the student, despite their high-achieving grades.
The counselors, along with Lopez, came to the conclusion that this statistic only hurts students applying to mid-level colleges.
For the students applying to Ivy League and top tier private schools, though, the rank holds little, if any, weight with admission officers, as both counselors affirm. Admission officers can easily determine whether students are in the top ten percent of their class based on classes and grades, so including the stat for highly competitive applications can almost be seen as redundant.
“The thinking is that it can only ultimately hurt students,” Johnston notes.
Per the College Board, admission officers are beginning to discount the accuracy and importance of the class ranking system. Private colleges tend to place more emphasis on personal essays and individual talent, while bigger colleges focus more on standardized test scores and grades.
High schools across the country seem to have come to similar conclusions.
“Over 50 percent of high schools [as noted by the College Board] in the US have dropped ranking,” explains Schatz. “It’s a major trend.”
In other words, Carmel High is only one of thousands of schools across the nation to notice the flawed system and propose necessary steps to provide students with the most competitive application.
Senior Steve Yoo expresses his neutrality on the matter, but acknowledges the misleading statistic: “I’m pretty neutral right now. But it doesn’t really tell you much and is not very accurate.”
The change, should it take place, will happen next year. Currently, it seems that the board is open to the proposal and there is a good chance it will go through.
Principal Lopez sums up the situation: “Student ranking is an apparatus by colleges to measure our students and discard them more than put them into the mix for admission conversation. I think it’s used to sort and eliminate. We want colleges to consider our kids by the true merits of their application.”