Opinion: The Ranking System Is Incredibly Harmful 


Expect excellence. 

That phrase haunts us every time we open our school laptops, or use a computer, or look at a school website, or even walk around the halls. As Carroll Dragons, we are expected to be excellent in every way, especially academically.

While academic excellence is something a school should push their students towards, when coupled with the ranking system, the unrealistic standards it sets end up creating a toxic environment. In competitive circles, the pressure of ranking, especially being in the lucrative top 6%, looms over students. 

A major harm of the ranking system is the toll it takes on students’ mental health. Students who desire to be ranked will take many AP and PreAP classes to get extra points, which entails a tremendous workload. A student under this amount of pressure might feel a little bit better after a few reassuring words from the counselors, but the alleviation is only temporary since it will fail to address the root of the problem. These temporary solutions only prolong chronic problems.

This pressure to have top-tier grades often leads to students not wanting to take electives that can’t offer extra points, since even if they get a 100, it would still bring their GPA down. A 100 in a non-weighted elective would still bring down the GPA of someone who has a 94 in a PreAP class, since it would count as a 101. This drives students away from taking any courses that allow them to explore new fields that might interest them in lieu of taking electives where they can get an easy 107 or 110. 

Students will also be deterred from taking classes for a subject for multiple years, even if they’re passionate about it, even though many colleges appreciate commitment. Some subjects, such as debate and computer science, offer extra points for three or four years, whereas subjects such as journalism and certain art classes can’t offer these points. Not only will students suffer, these programs will too. 

UT Austin’s automatic admission has dropped to the top 6%, and is projected to continue dropping to accommodate for the growing population of Texas, causing grade inflation. Many other colleges are dropping their admissions rates in the name of prestige, making students chase that top percentage to stand out. 

Of course, exemplary students should be rewarded for their efforts. These students aren’t only taking easy APs and PreAPs, they’re taking extraordinarily difficult classes as well. A student excelling in college level classes deserves recognition. After all their hard work, they need to be rewarded.

Instead of the current system where any classes the CollegeBoard deems fit can offer extra points, CISD should adopt a system in which only core classes (english, math, science, and social studies) can offer seven or ten points and electives are all on level. That way, the pressure students receive from taking multiple advanced classes solely to boost their GPAs will ease. Students would also be freer to take and pursue classes that genuinely interest them for the same reason. 

We need to change this system so we can finally stop crushing students’ confidence and passion.