Class rank practice being evaluated


photo by Yasmin Haq

Sophomores and freshmen do not have ranks on their transcripts. The decision to make class ranks optional on transcripts will be Dec. 11.

The LISD Board of Trustees will decide whether to implement a change to make class ranks optional on transcripts on Dec. 11 during the 7 p.m. school board meeting.

[Optional class ranks] gives students and parents the flexibility to make the choice that best serves their individual needs,” chief communications officer Amanda Brim said.

The proposal suggests that, although all students will still be ranked, having ranks on their transcript will not be mandatory unless they are in the top 10 percent. The Texas 10 Percent Plan allows automatic admission to public colleges in Texas for students in the top 10 percent of their class, making it required for their transcripts to have ranks. If the board votes in favor of this proposal, making class ranks optional on transcripts will apply to the class of 2019 and on.

“What the district is looking at is if you’re not in the top 10 percent, do you want that information [on your transcript] or do you not,” principal Scot Finch said. “So families could opt out of having the rank being put on their child’s transcript or they could say, ‘no go ahead and put the rank on the transcript.’”

Brim said optional class ranks gives students the flexibility to serve their needs and will allow colleges to look at students as a whole.

Each student will have the opportunity to determine for themselves whether their college application will be more appealing to colleges if rank is included or excluded on their transcript,” Brim said.

Finch said that high school principals would prefer students to receive class ranks at the end of freshman year rather than giving it within the first nine weeks of high school or withholding it.

Several other districts have changed the practice of class rank. For example, Highland Park ISD only ranks the top 10 percent and no other students receive rank.

“It’s really all over the board in the state of Texas as far as what districts do as far as grade point average (GPA), weighted averages and class rank,” Finch said.

Finch said Spring Branch ISD is being used as a model regarding the class rank policy. Spring Branch ISD has all of the students meet with a counselor to decide whether to have class rank on their transcript.

“So [the conferences] force the counselors to meet with every [student for class ranks],” Finch said. “If you had the need to talk to all the juniors and seniors you’re looking at about 1700 kids. If you spend 15 minutes [with each student], just do the math. It’s going to take a long time.”

Sophomore Lauren Santaella said the possible class rank change would be beneficial to students.

“Our school is such a big school [and] it’s very competitive,” Santaella said. “So if [students] have a lower rank, I think [the choice of having rank on transcripts] is better for them and it probably looks better for colleges when they’re applying.”

Other students, such as sophomore Aisha Aslam, think the change is a good idea, but don’t like class ranks being withheld this long for sophomores.

“I think that giving students the option to opt in or out for class ranks is fine and is actually a good idea as it allows colleges to assess students without just looking at rank,” Aslam said. “Even though at my grade we don’t have to worry for college as much, sophomore year is still really important to know ranks and to see how overall a student does compared with others, I just hope that whatever they do with ranks, they do it quickly so that we will know before it’s too late to fix our ranks.”

Class ranks for the current freshmen and sophomores are being withheld until the board makes a decision.  

“I have students asking me when they’ll know their rank, and it’s going to be dependent on what the school board does the second Monday of December,” Finch said.