To rank or not to rank….

All students studying the HSC know that it is not the assessment mark (in school) that is most important, it is your rank within the cohort of students. Now there is a lot of misunderstanding about how this actually works – for details see http://www.uac.edu.au/documents/atar/2012-ScalingReport.pdf. So I totally understand students in Years 11 & 12 being preoccupied with this! But when is it to early to start giving students their ranking – thus encouraging competition?

It doesn’t feel like an environment that is conducive to learning is being created when students are only concerned about the formal assessment tasks (as listed in the schedule) and their rank based on these tasks. All other learning and assessment activities “don’t really count”. And this is the opinion from Year 7 onwards.  The parents and teachers expect it.

Is this a hill to die on? Should it be changed? Or the status quo (in which students achieve outstanding results in the HSC) maintained?

What do you do at your school  – is a ranking important? and from what age?