Point vs. Counterpoint

PCP: For Rankings

Every end of the term, class rankings come out and students are given a chance to look at how well they did in comparison to their classmates. Now it is completely optional to look at your class rankings due to the amount of stress it places on the students when they find out that they did not place well in their classes. However, the class rankings should still be kept for several reasons. The class ranking can be combined with the graded mark on how well a student did during a term. Having a good standing means that some opportunities for exchange and graduate school may be opened. And to achieve these opportunities, a student needs to see the rankings to see  whether they need to work on it or not. The Engineering department should continue giving out class rankings as it could give students an indicator of how they did compared to their classmates, which can be used for other opportunities and to help improve the study habits of students.

First of all, the class rankings give a clear indication of how a student does compared to their respective program. The class ranking is the only way for students to see how well they are doing in comparison to their peers in the program. Even if you did get a high average, it does not indicate what that average means in comparison to your class. In addition, most students come from different schools with completely different marking schemes. This means that an 80 in university is completely different from high school, and a ranking needs to be implemented to explain the full context of the mark. Even in other universities the marking scheme is different, which means that just a mark is not enough. Therefore, a number itself doesn’t mean anything unless it is compared with another number.

Knowing your class rank can help indicate whether you get additional opportunities or awards or not. The class ranking is also important for international exchanges, as some exchange universities require students to have a certain ranking or percentile to do the exchange. In addition, it is possible that if a student is going into graduate school, a faculty member who is writing a recommendation letter will have to access the rank and give an interpretation of it. There are some students who would want to pursue a graduate degree or international exchange but, without their rankings, they will not know fully if they are qualified to do so. The rankings can give a reassurance to students applying for these opportunities and can help students know what they need to do to meet their own goals. This also leads into my next point on how the rankings might improve the student’s ranking in the next term, such that the student may get selected for exchanges and graduate school.

Class ranking can be reassuring to some students. Students who scored on the lower end of the spectrum or got lower than they desired can take this as a learning lesson and possibly improve on their study skills for the next term. Most students that come into Waterloo Engineering are some of the best in their classes. However, there are many high schools which inflate the student’s grade, which sometimes places less importance on studying efficiently and more on getting the highest grades to get into university. Being on the bottom half of the class can be quite a shock, but it should be able to motivate some students to improve their study skills for the next term. In addition, even if you did or didn’t meet your desired ranking, it could be a good thing to know how well you did in relation to your peers so you don’t have to worry on which end of the ranking spectrum you place, because you will have the answer.

Even though the class ranking is a fairly controversial thing to be talked about, it is still necessary to keep this going. A student’s mark usually doesn’t indicate how the student is actually doing in terms of their school work. Some opportunities such as exchanges and graduate schools may require students to show their rankings. In addition, the rankings can help some students focus on improving their study skills if they wish to improve their standings in their class. Sometimes, it could be a relief to be able to see how well you did in comparison to your class. In conclusion, the class rank should be kept and be accessible to students at their choice. It is a choice to look at your rankings and this choice should still be available.

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