Elimination of Class Rank at Cornwall Central High School

  • Introduction of Latin Honors System (Tier Based)
    Based upon research of our current system and an extensive review involving key stakeholders, Cornwall Central High School will be moving away from a traditional class ranking system to a tier based system that utilizes Latin Honors to recognize high performing students.   Contemporary literature and research have proven that the current system we are in utilizing class rank is doing more harm than good for the students here at Cornwall Central High School.
    What has Cornwall done in order to research this and come to this decision?
    • In April of 2019, the idea to explore an alternative to class rank was first discussed.  During that time, data collection was performed with college admissions counselors, local high schools and key stakeholders.  
    • In fall of 2019, Cornwall Central High School sent out an official survey to colleges both public and private, inside of NYS and outside of NYS, in which we asked admissions counselors questions about the validity of rank in their admissions decisions, if we moved away from rank would it help/hurt students chances of admissions, etc.  
    • In March of 2020, a presentation to the CCHS faculty was given in which this data was shared.  Additionally, a survey was given to the CCHS faculty in reference to the positive and negative factors of class rank they have observed.
    • On May 11th 2020, a re-examination of our class rank policy was presented to the Board of Education.  To view the presentation, please click here.  Please go to the times 29:30 - 1:09:00 to hear the presentation.  The slide show presentation is also available below.
    • In the fall of 2020, a Class Rank Committee was formed involving key stakeholders.  This committee met several times to discuss items that needed to be addressed.  A frequently asked question document was formed and a roll out timeline was developed with the help of these stakeholders and student feedback.  The presentation for this committee is also available below as well.
    What is the Latin Honors System?
    The Latin Honors System is a way to recognize academic honors in graduates based upon grade point average “tiers” in a way that allows students to achieve recognition on their own individual accord rather than a rank system where there are only a limited number of spots to be recognized.
    Why use the Latin Honors System in place of class rank?
    Our primary purpose in utilizing the Latin Honors System is to be able to recognize more students who work hard in achieving their academic goals.  The Latin Honors System also decreases unnecessary competition between students, increases students intellectual and academic risks and creates an environment of support amongst students to increase their course rigor.
    What are the tiers in the Latin Honors System?
    While there is no true one system out there that exists, Cornwall Central High School has agreed upon the following tier levels to recognize their high performing students:
    *Based upon weighted cumulative GPA*
    • 92 - 94.999 Cum Laude (With Honor)
    • 95 - 97.999 Magna Cum Laude (With Great Honor)
    • 98+ Summa Cum Laude (With Highest Honor)
    Will there still be a Valedictorian and Salutatorian?
    Yes, Cornwall Central High School recognizes and appreciates the tradition of having a Valedictorian and Salutatorian represent their class symbolically and also at graduation as speakers.  Valedictorian and Salutatorian will be notified at the conclusion of the first semester of the senior year after grades are recalculated.
    How will the tiers be recognized at graduation?  Other recognitions?
    Students at graduation will be recognized by their tier.  Additionally, designations in the graduation program will indicate the tier students have attained.  Additional recognitions will also be considered where it can fit. 
    Even though class rank is no longer reported, will it be available upon request?
    No, only in circumstances in which class rank must be reported with no other viable option will class rank be given on the transcript.  Additionally, when this occurs, the transcript will be sent directly to the institution that is requesting this information (i.e. service academies).
    Will the elimination of class rank hurt students' chances of acceptance into college or winning scholarships?
    • No, on the contrary, not reporting class rank will force college admissions into evaluating our graduates via a more holistic approach, putting greater emphasis on rigor of coursework and grades within those courses along with their activities and letters of recommendation.  
    • According to the National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC), class rank has lost ground in the admissions process due to the fact that class rank can be interpreted subjectively and also cannot be used when comparing students from one school to the next.  Additionally, colleges recognize that students at high performing high schools are separated by fractions of a point so class rank is irrelevant to them.
    • As far as scholarships are concerned, most scholarships - just like college applications, have a section that asks for class rank OR another indicator that the student can put down.  In rare cases where class rank is the absolute only indicator for a specific scholarship, one can be provided but sent directly to the institution from our data management system.
    When will the roll out for this plan take place and what will it look like?
    Class of 2021 (Current Senior Class)
    Will students receive rank?
    Yes, students have already received their rank last year as we have always given it to them in their Junior year for college planning purposes.
    Will top ten students be recognized?
    Yes, for the Class of 2021, this tradition will continue for them as they have received their rank.
    Will tiers be recognized at graduation?
    Yes, as a way to introduce this system and also as a way to recognize the numerous high performing students here at CCHS, we will be recognizing the 3 tiers.
    Class of 2022 (Current Junior Class)
    Will students receive rank?
    No, normally students could have received their class rank in sophomore year if they wanted, but in anticipation of this change, we did not give out class rank to this class.  We will not give out class rank to them this year (Junior year) as well.
    Will top ten students be recognized?
    No, instead recognition of Summa Cum Laude graduates will take the place of top ten at an awards ceremony.
    Will tiers be recognized at graduation?
    Yes, starting with this class and on, the Latin Honors System will be used to recognize our high performing students.
    What are the requirements to be considered for the tiers?
    Since this system does not “knock out” anyone of contention, any student who transfers into Cornwall Central High School may be considered for each tier based upon their work from a previous institution.  The only exception to this rule would be qualification to be Valedictorian or Salutatorian. The cumulative weighted GPA will be calculated up to the thousandth decimal place for tier purposes and also to determine Valedictorian and Salutatorian.
    What are the requirements to be considered for Valedictorian and Salutatorian?
    In order to be considered for Valedictorian and Salutatorian here at Cornwall Central High School, students must be enrolled in at least four semesters prior to Senior year.  Students who were not enrolled for four semesters will have a GPA and a tier recognition calculated but would not be eligible for Valedictorian or Salutatorian.  
    What are the rules governing the GPA needed to be in a tier?
    In order to be eligible for a specific tier, the GPA utilized will be the weighted cumulative grade point average at the conclusion of the first semester of senior year. The grade point average will not be rounded up to the nearest point in order to be considered.  Example:
    • Student achieves a 94.998 cumulative weighted grade point average.
    • This student may only be considered for Cum Laude as we cannot round up to 95.
    What if a student desires to graduate early (January)?
    In order for a student to be considered for Valedictorian/Salutatorian, the student must express an interest to graduate early before the graduating school year begins and this must be approved by the building principal or appointed designee.
    What if a student has been enrolled in at least four semesters prior to Senior year but then decides to participate in a program outside of CCHS such as the College Experience Program or other alternate program in which they are taking a majority of classes outside of the building?
    As per our handbook, the student would need to sign an agreement with CCHS that states in full transparency the letter grades from the program and what the numeric equivalent would be here at CCHS (see below).  No weight would be applied to these numeric grades. The reason no weight would be applied is because our handbook reflects a protocol based upon assessing our students performance through a “common academic experience”.  Without such a policy, the district cannot accurately assess and compare the academic rigor of the programs at the many schools or programs that occur outside of the walls of Cornwall Central High School.

Grading Conversion Chart

Letter Grade Number Grade
A+ 97
A 95
A- 90
B+ 87
B 85
B- 82
C+ 77
C 73
C- 70
D+ 67
D 65
D- 65
F <65