In a university of high achievers, class rankings can have real import. That’s why Trinity College and the Pratt School of Engineering are changing the approach to communicating student class rank based on grade point average.
The schools will no longer calculate or publish individual student class rankings because they’ve been deemed misleading, says Lee Baker, associate vice provost for undergraduate education and dean of academic affairs in Trinity. How so? Currently, for instance, there could be twenty-nine tied for number one, and ten people tied for number 30, leaving no one ranked number two. Students who tied with the third-highest GPA in their class might then be ranked at one hundred.
Under the new system, Duke will use a class-rank percentile system for the sophomore through senior classes. (“First-year students experience significant grade pressure already, and there is no benefit to reinforcing anxiety or creating a sense of competition,” says Baker.) The ranking system will indicate GPA ranges for the top fifth, tenth, fifteenth, twentieth, and twenty-fifth percentile of each class. Trinity and Pratt will publish the GPA cutoffs at the end of each semester grading period on the Registrar’s website. Once students access their GPA, they can view their class’ GPA ranges to determine class ranks.
Dean’s List, Dean’s List With Distinction, and the calculation for Latin Honors will not change.