The Plano Independent School District is considering changes to its class-rank policy, including eliminating the specific number that becomes attached to every high school student.
A district task force involving teachers, students, parents and community members analyzed class-rank policy for about a year and a half and came to the conclusion that it may not be necessary – and may not be helping students with college admissions.
The recommendation also includes switching to a Latin honor system, including summa and magna cum laude.
They would continue to identify valedictorians and salutatorians.
By Texas law, the district will still keep track of the top 10 percent, but students may no longer have specific numbers assigned to them.
Dr. Lisa Thibodeaux, executive director for secondary academics, said the district sought input from nearly 60 in- and out-of-state colleges and universities.
“The colleges reported to us, overwhelmingly, that there is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage to a student applying who doesn’t have a class rank attached to their application,” Thibodeaux said.
For students like Inayah Minniefield and Allyson King, getting rid of class rank would have meant getting rid of unneeded stress and competition.
Both are seniors at Plano East Senior High School, set to graduate in May.
“I know people at other districts who are ranked higher than I am, but have a lower GPA, which is kind of frustrating,” Minniefield explained.
King said if there hadn’t been a ranking system, she may have taken classes more geared toward her future career in the medical field rather than classes that helped nudge up her number.
“Because while GPA is still important, it’s equally and more important to discover what you want to do in the future, as opposed to just trying to play the rank game,” King said.
To depict how skewed the class ranking system at highly-competitive, large schools can be, look at the numbers.
The top student at Plano East Senior High has a GPA of 4.64. There is another student with a GPA of 4.05. There are 300 students between the two. Valedictorians and salutatorians are decided by decimal points.
The school board will vote on the class-rank policy change during their May 2 board meeting. If approved, it would impact incoming freshmen in the fall.
Many other districts in Collin County still rank students, including the Frisco ISD, which studied eliminating rank but decided against it last year.