Beginning with the Class of 2022 (this year’s freshmen), Milford High School will no longer be reporting class rank, unless it is specifically requested by a college or other institution. This decision was made following extensive research re: what colleges are looking for; what other school districts are doing; and how our students and parents feel about various factors in the educational process.
Milford’s curriculum and class offerings are very strong and competitive. We are ranked 26 out of 866 public high schools in Ohio, putting us in the top 3% of all high schools. With 24 Advanced Placement (AP) classes and other intellectually-stimulating opportunities, students have the ability to challenge themselves to whatever level they like. In addition, there are many unique options such as engineering, music, drama, special English classes, and many other topics that students can take to explore their various interests.
Yet, the race to place highly the class – and especially in the top two slots, Valedictorian and Salutatorian – can often outweigh a student’s desire to get to know him or herself by exploring different types of curriculum. In addition, students looking to increase their class rank may load their schedule with high-level classes in order to be competitive. This can sometimes lead to significant stress and other issues.
Half of the high schools around the country are no longer calculating class rank. This is mostly because class rank is no longer a factor for many colleges in their admission process. Grades, strength of curriculum, and the ACT/SAT are by far the most important factors in determining admission (on average – individual schools may differ). In fact, class rank falls at the bottom of nine factors that are considered.
When we surveyed students and parents, the opportunity to compete for Valedictorian/Salutatorian was very low in importance. Course success, ACT/SAT success, electives, and extracurriculars all ranked more highly.
Finally, an outside factor has affected class rank in an unusual way: the state law for students taking College Credit Plus (CCP) classes require these students to receive an AP bump for any class that has an equivalent at the home high school. This means CCP students can potentially never set foot in Milford HS, yet end up being top in their grade, or take courses that are not equivalent to AP or Milford classes yet still earn a higher GPA. This makes the class rank system non-equivalent and, thus, ineffective.
Our desire as an institution of learning is to encourage students to choose the courses that challenge and interest them, to explore and balance academics and extracurriculars. When we compared this desire with the importance of class rank both among colleges and also in the minds of students and parents, it became clear that eliminating class rank is a smart move for our high school community.
Instead, Milford HS will continue the present system of Latin Honors to recognize student achievement upon graduation. Currently, any student who achieves a 4.25 or above is recognized as Summa Cum Laude; between 3.8 and 4.249 is recognized as Magna Cum Laude; and 3.5-3.799 is Cum Laude. This allows students to challenge themselves without competing with others, plus encourages them to add non-weighted exploration classes to their schedule.
In the future, Summa Cum Laude will be bumped to 4.5+, as more and more students are achieving very high GPAs.
To learn more and to see Mr. Daniels’ full presentation, click here.