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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    It’s in the numbers


    “”The average person thinks he isn’t.”” – Father Larry Lorenzoni

    Should the UA admit a prospective student with a 3.0 high school grade point average?

    It depends: If that student goes to a school without the grade inflation that plagues all levels of American education, a 3.0 might place him in the top 20 percent of his class.

    Now say the same student’s GPA is inflated to 3.4. The UA might consider letting him go to Arizona State University.

    A GPA is a meaningless number unless it allows admissions committees to know how well the student did in comparison to others. Class rank is a much better indicator of performance.

    That’s why it’s so deplorable that high schools across the country are increasingly moving away from ranking their students. This weekend a story in the New York Times documented that colleges are seeing upwards of 40 percent of applicants coming in without class rank information.

    At first glance, that might seem logical from a high school’s perspective: It doesn’t want its midrange students to be denied admission to top schools because they’re not in the top of the class.

    But decreasing stress on rankings is making standardized tests and other measures of performance ever more important. That makes high schools less important while increasing the burden on students.

    But there’s something deeper: While admissions committees are supposed to decide precisely who would be a good fit for the UA, high school counselors are blurring the line by promoting an “”everyone is wonderful”” atmosphere.

    Students – especially qualified students – should want their rank information to be submitted to colleges. Otherwise, the already intense pressure to do well on standardized tests and lead extracurricular organizations will only increase.

    Of course, some top-performing students don’t like rankings. For example, the system is great for students who squeak by with 90s in all their courses, at the expense of those who end up with all 100s. Similarly, some students don’t think it makes sense to rank because some schools simply have a higher overall quality, such as University High School, a public magnet school in Tucson.

    But these challenges only further point to the need for more information. If class ranks aren’t the answer, perhaps high schools should move to plus-minus grading to differentiate between the 90 students and the 100 students.

    Though there will always be a campus that doesn’t want to admit that some students are better than others, universities’ guiding principle should always be to operate on the basis of as much information as possible – to let the truth be heard.

    Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Nina Conrad, Lori Foley, Caitlin Hall, Michael Huston, Ryan Johnson, Aaron Mackey and Tim Runestad.

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