I recently found out that our grade school does not recognize the top student or valedictorian anymore. They instead recognize all students with a GPA of 4.5-5.0 in their last two years of junior high. Those students get a plaque. This bothers me for two reasons.
1) Obviously, I think my child IS the top student or valedictorian of the class. Let’s be honest – that’s the number 1 reason. He and another student are actually tied in GPA. They are above the other students in their class because they are the only two students (in the history of the school, by the way) who will have TWO years of accelerated or honors high school math completed by the time they graduate from grade school. These two students were tested in 6th grade by taking the high school placement test and scored in the 98% in the nation. They were then placed into accelerated algebra at the high school in 7th grade. Both received As for all quarters. They are now in Accelerated Algebra II/Trig and are both receiving As for the two quarters completed so far. Because these high school classes are honors classes, their GPA is weighted. Therefore, the As these two students receive count more than the As that other students receive.
2) The other reason that I am bothered by the “no-valedictorian-everyone-receives-a-plaque” rule is because As and Bs don’t really reflect top achievement anymore. Here’s why I say that.
When our school publishes the HIGH HONOR ROLL and HONOR ROLL listings in the newspaper, over half of my son’s class is listed. Over half! Listed in the ranks of high honor roll are special education students and students taking classes below their grade level. Again, no weighting. An A is an A.
Our local newspaper just published an article saying that out of the 108 students expected to enter the freshmen class next year, 78 DID NOT test into high school level math (Algebra I) and 56 students DID NOT test into high school level English classes.
But over 1/2 of the kids are on high honor roll.
Receiving mostly As speckled with some Bs.
Do you see the problem? What is an A worth these days?
In a neighboring town, a parent wrote in to an Open Forum column that the high school should not have all-school assemblies celebrating high scholastic achievement because it makes the other students “feel bad”. This same high school is no longer going to acknowledge the valedictorian OR class rank.
Am I “old school”? I find this a sad turn in our educational system…