Just another number

Students disagree on the significance of knowing class rank


L. Ribeiro

Freshmen Anna Park and Xavier Reyes work together to program an arduino component in Design and Technology. The Naviance class rank hack threatens to disrupt part of the collaborative nature of the school. “There is a reason why FCPS [Fairfax County Public Schools] schools stopped using class rank previously,” assistant principal Cynthia Hawkins said. “There’s a danger in comparison and a danger in ranking.”

Ayesha Khan, Grace Sharma, and Lucas Ribeiro

It’s the end of the semester, and grades are about to come out. You don’t know what changes your grades experienced after last-minute assignments, but the change can’t be significant enough to impact the future of your life. At least for now, the difference between an A and an A-minus won’t be the reason you get into your dream college. 

However, in this scenario, you aren’t solely worried about a letter grade decrease. With the click of a button you know whether you’re the top 10 students in your class or the bottom 10%. The difference between an A and an A-minus can be the difference between being the 50th best student in your class to the 100th. 

For at least 10 days, Jefferson students had access to their previously hidden class rank on Naviance, an American software company that gives high school students access to college planning resources. Code was leaked early Nov. that allows students to extract their class rank from hidden metadata. 

School administration submitted a ticket to Naviance about the issue on Nov. 17, and the problem was officially resolved by the morning of Nov. 21. However, those 10 days provided a preview of what the Jefferson environment would look like if class rank were commonplace. 

“There are a lot of other things that go into a student’s worth than a numerical calculation,” sophomore Vivian Monaco said. “I believe it’s a very bad idea, and we shouldn’t start doing this on a county wide level. There’s no need to see class rank, especially at Jefferson because it is already so competitive.” 

This competition can then impact the mental health of students not doing well compared to their peers. 

“My friend was complaining to me about his class rank. I asked him if he was top ten, and he said yes,” senior Luke Wang said. “It definitely opens the door for humble bragging, making people feel bad about themselves.” 

However, others believe that access to class rank can help students establish realistic expectations and know how they’re doing in comparison to other students. 

“I tried doing it after one of my friends told me about it, and it was a reality check if anything,” sophomore Sara Jamalzai said. “I think it’s very helpful that we get to see where we are ranked compared to our other classmates. Although it might become a little toxic in an environment like Jefferson. I didn’t care though, so it didn’t affect me mentally.”

One student contends to take it further than students just knowing their own rank. 

“An improvement I think they should add into the code is to reveal the top 10-50 people because I want to know who they are,” sophomore Lakshmi Katrapati said. 

Something all students can agree on, though, is that class rank will lead to more pressure and higher self-expectations. 

“The level of student you have to be at Jefferson is really high,” senior Savara Shrivastava said. “Just being in an environment where you’re comparing yourself even more to the students around you, and knowing the exact numbers makes everyone feel more pressured upon themselves to get [a] higher GPA.”