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ERIC Number: EJ987578
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec-3
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
High-School Class Rank, a Slippery Metric, Loses Its Appeal for Colleges
Hoover, Eric
Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec 2012
Among the traditional measures of student quality, class rank is widely described by admissions officers as the fuzziest. That is why some colleges no longer use it in their evaluations of applicants, while many others do not consider it very important. The measure once had greater appeal. For one thing, it had the whiff of fairness. Seeing how an applicant stacked up to his or her peers seemed like an essential way of running the Darwinistic realm of selective admissions, where talk of competition is ubiquitous. And the highest-ranked students in a given school, admissions officers often found, had the best odds of success in college. In that sense, class rank could tell evaluators more than grade-point averages do. As more and more students take more and more advanced classes, grade-weighting has become common. Grading scales have gone haywire, varying from school to school and resulting in 5.2 GPA's and multiple valedictorians, as well as students with all A's and a few B's who rank below the top tenth. Also, grade inflation has become a major concern for colleges. Meanwhile, worries about the effects of ranking--on students' psyches as well as admissions chances--have led many high schools to cease their calculations. Outside of admissions committees, however, the metric has a life of its own. Trustees and prospective students alike tend to view class rank as an important measure of institutional merit, and "U.S. News" factors class rank into its ratings of colleges.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; Tel: 202-466-1000; Fax: 202-452-1033; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; District of Columbia; Indiana; Michigan; North Carolina; Texas; Virginia