Alternatives to traditional rankings

March 22, 2020

It is true that there are drawbacks to the traditional system of ranking by GPA, but there are alternatives that solve some of these problems. Many like the idea of ranking based on weighted GPAs, that is, AP classes are on a scale of 5.0 and normal classes are on a scale of 4.0. This way, the difficulty of the classes you take plays a factor in determining GPA, and a person who did not challenge themselves but got straight A’s would not become valedictorian over someone who took harder classes and did not get perfect grades. Another alternative would be ranking by percentiles. Instead of having a number, like 5th, 48th, or 178th, students would have a percentile, ie top 5% of the class or top 50%. Ranking by percentiles might help to eliminate some of the competition between students, as many more students can be included in the coveted top 10 or 25%. A third alternative would be taking additional qualifications into account besides GPA and classes, such as extracurriculars or even home environment. These factors would be hard to quantify, and it would be difficult to determine which factors are important enough to be included, but it would help more well-rounded students rank higher. All in all, these solutions could provide rankings to students without fostering a system of competition that is too harsh.

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