According to the National Association of Secondary School Principals, nearly half of school no longer record ranking because they consider it to be a slight against student’s self esteem. One school even reported having 48 valedictorians this year so more students can be recognized for a wider variety of achievements.
While school do keep track of grade point averages, many have done away with using them as actual rankings for students. The school site a variety of concerns of using GPAs to rank students, including an unhealthy social divide for students with lower scores, and competition that can turn potentially unhealthy.
The Daily Mail reports:
Among those weighing a change is Lancaster High School in suburban Buffalo, where students are leading an exploration of replacing valedictorian-salutatorian recognitions with the college-style Latin honors of summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude.
The principal, Cesar Marchioli, said he’s neutral on the issue, though he feels for the 11th-ranked student who falls just short of the recognition awarded to the top 10 seniors honored at the annual banquet.
Graduating Lancaster senior Connor Carrow, 17, has pressed for the switch to Latin honors since his sophomore year, well before landing just out of the top 10, at No. 14, while serving as student union president and playing varsity lacrosse and hockey.
He said it’s a better fit with the school’s collaborative and cooperative ideals.
‘You’re striving for that (honor) personally, but you’re not hoping that you’re better than these other 400 people next to you,’ said Carrow.
The view was somewhat different from the No. 1 spot occupied by Carrow’s classmate Daniel Buscaglia, who also played saxophone in several performance ensembles and volunteered in his town’s youth bureau.
While he doesn’t oppose the change, Buscaglia expects the competition in high school, although it was mostly friendly, will help him at Cornell University in the fall.