By ASHLEY COKER
Beginning in 2020, Williamson County high school students will no longer be ranked against their peers.
Williamson County School Board voted unanimously Monday night to eliminate class rank in favor of taking a more holistic approach to evaluating students. A staff survey cited unnecessary student stress and the declining importance of class rank in college admissions as primary reasons for the change.
Currently, class rank is determined by GPA alone and is the sole factor in deciding which students graduate with honors, including the valedictorian and salutatorian titles. These honors will continue to be awarded based on class rank through 2019.
Under the new policy students will be recognized for their academic accomplishments using the following Latin honors system:
Summa Cum Laude: 4.25 and above
Magna Cum Laude: 4.00-4.24
Cum Laude: 3.75-3.99
The Latin system allows all students who achieve a high GPA to be honored instead of limiting recognition to the top 10, top 10 percent or top 20 students, eliminating the need for students to compete with each other for a few coveted spots at the top.
Valedictorian and salutatorian will still be awarded, but the titles will be given based on a new, more nuanced set of criteria. It is as follows:
1. Student must qualify for the highest Latin system honor awarded in the respective school.
2. Student must sit for the AP exam for every course in which enrolled and must achieve a score of 3 or above on 75 percent of AP exams taken.
3. Student will participate in at least 20 hours of community service above and beyond any other community service required by other organizations. Students must provide documentation of the completed community service hours and documentation of the completed community service hours required by other organizations to their counselor.
4. In the event multiple students meet the aforementioned criteria, then the highest achieved ACT composite controls.
Student transcripts will continue to include two different GPA numbers: one calculated using Williamson County’s weighted scale and one calculated using the Tennessee Uniform Grading Scale, which is used to award lottery scholarships. The only change to student transcripts will be the absence of a numerical class rank.