Ranking system vs grade system in school

This article explains the merits and demerits of ranking system and grading system in school. The principle should wisely decide whether ranking system or grade system is better in school. Every system has its own merits and failings and the school authorities, students and parents should make any system successful.

The students appear for an examination and then the results are declared to them for every test. Some schools provide results to the students in the form of ranking, while many schools provide grading system to the students also. Both the systems urge the students to study better next time. Ranking system was common in schools after independence period upto 1980's. The students eagerly waited for the principle to enter into the class and distribute marks card to the students. I can recall the days of my school days when result was to be declared. The class teacher piled up all the report cards on the table in a place and went to call the principle of the school. Then both of them entered the class, while the students grew more and more anxious. Some faces turned red just by looking at the strict face of the principle. Then the results were announced as 'First rank goes to Miss. xxx', then followed by applaud from the other pupils in the school. Consequently, the other ranks were announced in the class. But today many schools want to provide grade to the students instead of ranks due to different reasons. The merits and demerits of both the systems should be studied and they should reach the consensus.

Merits of grading system

The student aims to secure good points in every subject and hence aims to study every subject well. Any student can be really pleased to see a A grade in report card. Different students receive different types of grades, but an individual can properly focus upon his or her course of study. The grading system is helpful to those schools that evaluate students on several parameters. Some schools evaluate the students in different areas apart from subjects such as discipline, mortar skills, hobbies, music, melody, etc. A student can well know the areas that need improvement just by viewing the grade. Usually, where grading system exists, the students do not focus much upon other's grade or points.

Demerits of grading system

The students do not get customized to competition as grades are of only 5 to 6 types. Although grading system can reveal the areas of strength and weakness, they do not determine the exact points scored by the students. Usually a person scoring 90 to 100 marks are provided with A grade. But a student scoring 90 marks in a subject cannot know how 10 marks are lost. Some students remain satisfied by even securing C grade because it is a mark for passing and promotion. A student may feel satisfied only if he or she is promoted to next class.

Merits of ranking system

A student has already entered the competitive world by being customized to ranking system. When the results are declared, they are ready to face such anxiety-filled situations. Also, a student can know exactly, where the marks are acquired and how the marks are lost. For eg. If a student has scored 80 marks, then he or she is obviously eager to know how the 20 marks are lost. By the means of comparison, a student strives to study harder next time to survive the competition. They learn different techniques of surviving in a competitive world. For eg, If a brilliant student drops down from 1 st rank to 10th rank in school, then he or she can analyze the reason for losing rank and try to top the list again. But under grading system, the student has scored anyhow A grade, student will not know that he or she has not scored well like the last exam.

Demerits of ranking system

Some students become intensely rank-conscious that they literally cry if they do not acquire the desired rank. A student who drops down from 1st rank to 11th rank may feel that he or she is pushed down on a very low level as 11th rank is something new to the student. Some parents become conscious in this regard and feel upset if the neighbors son or daughter has secured better rank.

The students may focus more on ranking rather than scoring good marks. A student may secure good rank because the other pupils in the class are not much smarter, but the student may not score very good marks in some subjects. Just because the rank is higher, he or she may neglect to study the subject well next time.


Both the systems can be successfully implemented, but the school should understand which system is better or ideal for the school. For every school, ranking system is not ideal. A school that evaluates students on several grounds or provides personal care should focus upon grading system because the teacher cannot provide marks for every subject or parameter as the work may become meticulous. They should focus upon all-round development and see that the student is graded good in every parameter. They may fix different icons for grades such as A +, A and A - etc depending upon the level. When the students are lesser, the grading system is suitable because only few students cannot be ranked.

If the students are numerous, then ranking system is ideal. Every student must be ranked upon marks scored. Students who do not reach a minimum limit are declared to be failed. The people should sportively accept the ranking system and not become intense. The student should not feel demoted or panicked if the rank drops down. The comparison should be converted into energy.


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