No More Class Rank

No More Class Rank 


The class of 2023 will not have a valedictorian or salutatorian. Why is that? The school board of Talawanda has decided to remove class ranking as a whole. 

Being named a valedictorian or salutatorian is a significant achievement. In general, valedictorians and salutatorians are those individuals who have reached the very highest levels of academic success, however, there is (or might be) a toxic culture behind class rankings. The vicious rivalry and inevitable resentment on display as a handful of overachievers battle it out over tiny differences in GPA has led some schools to stop ranking, or at least to identify a batch of high-scoring kids as co-valedictorians — a tiny step in the right direction.

There are many factors behind having the highest GPA in your grade including what classes you take and how many credits you get for each of the classes. There are many different options of classes that people can take,  but you still need credits to graduate,  so if there was class rank and you wanted to be number one, you couldn’t take CP classes. 

A current senior at Talawanda told me how people who wanted to pursue tech were at a certain disadvantage.  Let’s say for example someone who is attending Talawanda wants to take a CCP class, they would only get a 4.5 GPA for that specific class. A CCP is only weighted as height as the AP class within that certain department. If anyone takes a CCP art class they would earn a 5.0 GPA because Talawanda offers a few AP art courses. This conversion brings up a whole new problem in itself, being the courses offered at Talawanda.

When asked if current class rank helps them, one Talawanda senior said, “Not at all. The prestigious universities I applied to tend to look at students who are in the top 1% of their class, and since I’m not up there, that’ll knock my chances of getting into those schools. I also applied Regular Decision to down a few points since I reported my class rank, which is a major setback considering how competitive admissions are.”

But it still brings up questions like does the school keep track of who is top of their class. Talawanda counselor  Mr. Davie said:  “Yes, we still have access to the information.”  Only colleges, however, can request access to a student’s class rank.

There were a lot of reasons why they decided to eliminate class rank specifically for Juniors. One of them being graduation credits. You need 20 credits to graduate. The school specifically removed class rank because you can start earning credits as soon as 7th grade. They were in conversation about removing class rank but they specifically chose to remove it 6 years ago when the current junior class was in 6th grade.

Is the high school doing something to acknowledge the hard work of good students? Yes, they are. To replace the valedictorian and salutatorian they have created a new system that brings the Latin honors. There are three levels of the Latin system: summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or cum laude.  Summa cum laude means “with the highest praise.” On average 23 students make it. You need a 4.2 GPA to qualify for summa. Magna cum laude translates to “with great praise. You need a 4.0 GPA to achieve magna cum laude. Cum laude is Latin for “with distinction.” You need a 3.8 to achieve cum laude.