Katy Made the Change, Why Can’t Conroe?

SIgi Ris, Opinion Editor


Starting this school year, with the class of 2023, Katy ISD will remove Ds from its grading system, so that any grade from a 70 to a 79 will constitute a C. Additionally, specific class rank will only be given to the top 10 percent of a class, with the rest of the students being notified if they are in the top 25, 50, or 75 percent. This change is an excellent improvement to the academic system, and it needs to be implemented within Conroe ISD.

First, changing the definition of a C to fit all grades from a 70 to a 79 gives students a fairer chance to do well. An A and a B encompass 10 different number grades, why can’t a C? A student shouldn’t be penalized for making a 74 rather than a 75. Conroe ISD’s current definition of a C is too narrow and can make students anxious if their grade begins to slip (as a D is often frowned upon). However, with Katy’s new change, colleges will see a C on a student’s transcript, regardless of whether or not that grade was a 70 or a 79. This gives students more leverage if they make a mistake in a class or are in a situation where they are unable to attain a higher average. 

Additionally, eliminating class rank for those not in the top 10 percent reduces a portion of the toxicity that students face in a competitive environment. Class rank is very important to many high schoolers in Texas, especially at The Woodlands High School, because any student in the top 10 percent of their graduating class is automatically admitted to any Texas public university (with the exception of the University of Texas at Austin, which automatically admits the top six percent). However, this oftentimes sparks a negative mindset in many students, as they become pressured to become a number. There have been instances at TWHS where students have been belittled because their rank wasn’t high enough, and where students have cheated because of the immense pressure they feel to boost their GPA so that their rank will look more appealing to colleges. Reducing the amount of people who receive a rank is a great place to start when it comes to minimizing the “defined by a single number” mentality, which is a big issue at competitive high schools such as TWHS. Class rank is in and of itself a ridiculous concept that serves no purpose, but to pit students against each other. However it cannot be taken away completely as it is used for good when it comes to public institutions in Texas; therefore Katy ISD has made the perfect compromise and Conroe should too.

Many will argue that removing Ds from the grading system will motivate students to slack off in class, and that keeping class rank for only the top 10 percent is redundant because the top ten percent are the only competitive members of a class. These statements are not true. If anything, removing Ds will take the stress off of students in the originally smaller range of a C who are worried about slipping to a D. If students are slacking off, failing grades still exist, and will continue to motivate students to keep their grades up. As far as class rank, the majority of students at competitive high schools consider themselves to be driven when it comes to their ranking, regardless of whether they are in the top 10 percent or not. Thus, minimizing the population of a class receiving a rank will be effective.

Katy ISD’s new grading and rank structure is a step in the right direction for the public education system, reducing students’ stress and giving them a greater opportunity to do well, while still leaving the chance for the top ten percent to gain automatic admission to Texas public institutions. Conroe needs to learn from Katy’s smart actions and implement a similar system.