Rancor in the ranks: Should schools continue to name valedictorians?

In a stint as a field day volunteer at my children’s elementary school, I was assigned parachute play in which children held the edges of a giant colorful canvas and then ran under the chute.

A little boy who had already conquered the potato sack races, relays and hurdles eyed the parachute game with skepticism before asking, “How do you win?”

When I explained that the goal wasn’t to win but to have fun, he complained, “It’s not fun if there’s no winner.”

That seems to be a prevailing attitude in public education where we have always ranked students, and now, in the new age of accountability, rank teachers and schools. Teachers in Georgia are about to earn effective or ineffective rankings, as part of the state’s Race to the Top grant.

Colleges have a long history of public rankings and, concomitantly, of inflating their credentials to rise higher in those rankings.

But there is probably no ranking more controversial than class rankings, which is why many private schools have eliminated them. The bid to be No. 1 in a graduating class — a status that brings not only acclaim, but scholarships, including the Zell Miller — can spark bitter battles, as occurred last year in Cherokee County and this year in Gainesville.

The problem is that high school class rankings are simple summations of what are now complex equations. Figuring out the No. 1 student didn’t require a forensic audit when all students took the same college prep courses at the same time.

But today students earn high school credits in middle school, online and through dual enrollment. Grades have weightings attached because schools may add more points to an A or B in classes deemed more rigorous and challenging, such as honors or Advanced Placement courses.

Sometimes, students can be enrolled at a high school and yet never have attended a day of classes there, which set off a firestorm at Etowah High School last year. A private school student enrolled at Etowah to access an early college option offered to public school students. Because college grades earn higher points on the GPA, the private school student edged out an Etowah student who has been tops in her class since the ninth grade. (The outcome was a policy change to recognize two valedictorians.)

Determining the valedictorian can become so nuanced that it requires outside expertise, which is what Gainesville did when faced with an anomaly, asking a college professor to review its calculations.

Gainesville High had two students, classmates since kindergarten, vying for the No. 1 slot. One student had 36 credit units and all A’s. The other had 31.5 credits and one B. Intuition would suggest the first student would emerge No. 1, but it was the second student who ended up with the higher GPA by less than one-hundredth of a point.

Why? Because the first student had high school credits from middle school, and those grades were not weighted. The other student had taken more weighted classes while in high school and thus prevailed.

As peculiar as this situation sounds, it is apparently not unusual. While talking to newsroom colleagues about this story, one announced that he lost the valedictorian spot at his north Georgia high school under the exact same circumstances. (He says he got over it.)

Gainesville High’s solution to name co-valedictorians did not appease the mother of the student with the higher GPA. She argued that the policy called for the student with the highest GPA to be valedictorian and that was unarguably her son. The other boy decided to bow out, but allegations of racism continue.

The student with the higher GPA is African-American and will be Gainesville High’s first black valedictorian, so the decision held historic significance for the community.

The saga has left Gainesville Superintendent Merrianne Dyer believing that the Latin honors system favored by private schools, in which groups of students earn levels of distinction such as cum laude and magna and summa cum laude, is fairer.

The arms race for the valedictorian title has caused students to shun honor arts classes because those classes aren’t weighted as highly, she said, adding, “For the last 10 years, each year, except one, there has been contention around the valedictorian because students came to their senior year with quite a different number of course credits.”

“The cum laude system would not be dependent on everyone having the same number of courses,” said Dyer, “and it would recognize all the students who worked hard to get their GPAs that high.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

59 comments Add your comment

Glass-Half Empty ,or Half Full ?

March 16th, 2012
3:41 am

Schools should continue to name valedictorians, because it stresses the
importance of competition, and having a valedictorian does not preclude
the high school from offering cum laude system to other students who
did not have the highest grade point average. The Gainesville Superintendent
should view the glass half full,because having students excelling in their
academic endeavors is precisely what an educational leader should be
proud of and promote.

Tad Jackson

March 16th, 2012
6:04 am

The giddy seniors are making speeches about what they’re thankful for before they get to move their tassel over to the left. This gang is in another building, but I heard stories about them. Teachers talk … and teachers gawk at the other teacher’s stories. It seems these seniors had allowed their teachers to really earn their dough.

There were persistent profanity issues I heard. One fellow, during his required senior presentation, spoke about the benefits of legalizing marijuana. So did another fellow. But a bunch of them were nice and made good grades and were respectful to their teachers. The yearbook turned out pretty good. A couple of seniors, during the school year, produced a love child.

I’d have to say I most liked the speech given by the young man who told everybody he moved here all the way from South Dakota to come to this school. That’s a long way. Philosophically and mile-wise, he said. He thanked his grandparents for letting him stay at their house these last two years, and then he chuckled as he pointed at them sitting out there. When he ended his speech he looked up and mused to the ceiling, You know, it’s been a long … strange … jerrrrr-neeee.

I thought, For all of us, pal. Don’t forget your humble teachers and the journey you just took them on. Then I waved my program in front of my hot face. There were a couple of flies in the gym, too.


God Bless the Teacher!

March 16th, 2012
6:12 am

Easy fix.

1st: Define that Valedictorian and Salutatorian are honors recognizing achievement strictly in courses completed at (physically) the high school. Courses taken in middle school and college (via dual enrollment or whatever) will not count toward determination.
2nd: Set a minimum number of courses that must be taken at the high school. Say (4 years)x(6 courses per year) = 24 minimum courses even to be considered.
3rd: Don’t inflate averages for honors and AP courses. This is a big issue in my district because honors course averages are inflated by 5 points and AP course averages are inflated by 10 points. There’s not even a stipulation that a student has to be passing without the inflation in order to receive the inflation!
4th: Only count core academic courses (no PE, band, art, etc.).
5th: Find the numeric average (to the rounded hundredth) of all core academic courses’ semester averages, taking into account the first 15 weeks of spring semester of senior year by counting averages as if they were semester averages.
6th: Order students by how many AP courses were taken (most to least). Compare the numeric averages of students who took the most AP courses. Greatest is Valedictorian; next is Salutatorian. If a tie still exists, let them arm wrestle for it. :-)


March 16th, 2012
6:47 am

Competition is good. It makes a person reach for something beyond his oe her grasp. I hate it when sports competitions in elementary school gives awards to everyone regardless of their performance. Our children are trained to think that, no matter what they do, they are special. And they aren’t. It’s sort of like a race to the bottom. Why strive to be the best, if the worst are rewarded as well?

johnny too good

March 16th, 2012
7:26 am

yes continue naming a valedictorian as well as honor graduates, good academics should be applauded and rewarded. there is nothing wrong with a little competition, I hate games or contests where everyone is declared a winner or get awards for participation
I thought this was a capitalistic society?


March 16th, 2012
7:35 am

A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at. – Bruce Lee


March 16th, 2012
7:42 am

I believe having a valedictorian is fine. If thirty people apply for a job but only one is hired, every one of those thirty people will have detailed reasons why they are a better choice than the others. Some will stress that college GPA should be weighted higher. Some will stress community involvement. Some will stress other things.

For the valedictorian, the school should have a set policy before the students of a graduating class begin receiving credits for high school. The policy should be published. From that point on, the policy for that class should not be changed. Before students begin taking classes that are counted, any method is fair to all students. After the students begin taking classes any change will favor some students over others. Parents who challenge the method for determining the valedictorian do not argue about what the correct method should be, the argue for the methods that favor their child. A parent who argues that art classes should not be counted, would have a different point of view if art classes helped their child. I don’t know what actually happened at Gainesville, but it does seem ridiculous that when the first black student is the valedictorian that the school suddenly makes a policy to have two.


March 16th, 2012
7:59 am

To answer the question; yes, a valedictorian and salutatorian should be named, but also have the cum laude, etc., etc. Lay out precisely what courses have to be taken to compete for the honor and let the cards fall where they may. Kids need to learn (today, more than ever) that to excel, means to compete. Those who strive to do their best and don’t shy away from work, seldom fail economically. Folks, like it or not, we are in a truly GLOBAL economy. Grads no longer are vying for jobs against kids from adjacent states, but other countries. The only way to keep (even) our present standard of living means to work harder and smarter. I’m in the same boat and I finally figured out that I can’t stop rowing just because I don’t like it. Oh, by the way, let’s grow up and get over this whole race thing…..


March 16th, 2012
8:04 am

“but it does seem ridiculous that when the first black student is the valedictorian that the school suddenly makes a policy to have two”

That wasn’t the case in Gainesville – the policy that allowed for co-valedictorians had been on the books for a long time. In fact, GHS has had co-valedictorians several times under that policy.

The only difference this time was that one of them was African-American and his mother played the race card to the hilt.

Of course we should have a valedictorian

March 16th, 2012
8:06 am

Of course we should have a valedictorian. There is also a place for a close second place — salutatorian.
As “God Bless the teacher” clearly says, make the rules very clear and publish them.
As for Maureen — I am disappointed you used the word “appease” to describe the mother of the deserving valedictorian. Her son earned the right to the title — he followed the rules and had the highest GPA. He alone is deserving of the title and for the principal to yank that title away from him was unfair. It is horribly unfair to characterize this mother as having to be “appeaesed.” “Appeased” is a word often used to describe someone who needs to be pacified because they are being angry or unreasonable. This mother was standing up for her son. He is the first African American to win the title of valedictorian and he deserves the distinction alone. I am astonished that Maureen would denegrate this mother for doing what she should be doing — advocating for her son. She is obviously an outstanding parent — just look what her son has achieved.

good mother


March 16th, 2012
8:27 am

We live in a grimly competitive world and this will only intensify as time goes by. In an ideal world, we could have an egalitarian approach to education and not worry much about class rankings. Unfortunately, harsh reality dictates we prepare our children for the brutal world that actually exists and not for the rose garden world that does not exist and never has.


March 16th, 2012
8:28 am

Whether we continue having valedictorians or not in high school, it isn’t going to change the fact that just about every other facet of our lives is ranked. Is changing the fact that we rank kids in high school going to change the fact that they’re ranked in college? Or when they apply for jobs, and one is ranked higher than the other and therefore gets the job? What about law schools. When you’re applying for internships in law school, some internships have as a requirement that you have to be in the top 10 of your class. Should we do away with those rankings because the people that are below the top 10 might feel sad that they weren’t able to get in? Everything is ranked, high school is supposed to prepare us for the real world. Therefore, it makes sense that high school should be ranked as well. From experience though, the top two from a rural high school in Georgia in no way compare to the top 10% or so from most Metro-Atlanta high schools.

College Mom

March 16th, 2012
8:33 am

Anyone else think it strange that the last semester senior year doesn’t go into calculations? Even for the “latin” weightings. That seemed pretty weak to us. Kind of validates the “senioritis” disease – that last semester doesn’t count.


March 16th, 2012
8:39 am

This is such a ridiculous discussion. There are winners and losers throughout life. And sometimes you don’t think the rules are fair. Yes, find a formula that applies to all and then pick the winner. I agree with most of Bless the Teacher’s ideas, except I vehemently disagree with not weighing points for honor/AP classes. I saw it happen when I was in school – kids chose not to challenge themselves in order to have it easier and get the higher GPA. If we want to push kids to achieve, the opportunities are there, but not if you give them a loop hole.


March 16th, 2012
8:44 am

There are so many phony distractions, like this one, that get added into the public school debate. All people seem to be able to do is argue. Meanwhile, our public schools go down the tubes. Or to quote Thomas Pynchon, “The Evacuation still proceeds, but it’s all theatre.”

Yankee Prof

March 16th, 2012
8:44 am

The system of calculating GPA A averages for Georgia high school graduates isn’t all that interesting to me. What I do find interesting is the system that calculates B averages for so many Georgia high school graduates who are nonetheless unprepared to take college level Math and English or to perform tasks requiring college-level reading skills.


March 16th, 2012
9:09 am

When I graduated from Bremen High School in 1971, they had a better system than naming a valedictorian and salutatorian. They named those students as honor graduates who achieved a certain grade point average. The honor graduates then selected the fellow honor graduates who would deliver the two main speeches at graduation. Other honor graduates filled other roles at the baccalaureate and graduation ceremonies. This worked out well for everybody without anyone having to worry about whether one student took a tougher course load than another student. I know they used that system for many years after that and they still may use it. The system apparently works because very few high schools in Georgia have higher achievement on state standards or send a higher percentage of graduates to college than does Bremen.


March 16th, 2012
9:11 am

Keep the valedictorians.

Fire the parents. They are the problem, the competition is not the problem.

Next they’ll insist on two winners during a soccer match because one parent got upset for their child’s team. :roll:

Though I do like @God Bless’s idea that being valedictorian means you excelled at the courses you took at the school and not somewhere else.


March 16th, 2012
9:30 am

Thank you, MD, for teaching us the virtue of socialism. No competition should be allowed. There should be no winners or losers. Everyone should be equal.

Atlanta Media Guy

March 16th, 2012
9:49 am

Let’s just say that every student is a valedictorian and salutatorian. Better yet, every student gets an A, we’d hate to separate the kids by their success on a test. Good Grief! I can’t believe this is even a subject here. With the APS mess, DCSS corrupt mess misplacing millions of dollars and yet we have time to debate whether or not we should celebrate the best and brightest in our schools?


March 16th, 2012
10:20 am

When I graduated high school in 1976 , we had four seniors with the exact same GPA……..the solution was to give each of student a topic to speak about at graduation. The rest of the 4.0 s were in the top 25.,no bickering of righteous indignation was warranted. I was proud because I received a honor sash for being in the National Honor Society and had a star by name in the city newspaper listing all graduates. Life was simpler but, achievement was and still should be recognized. We mention and praise sports athletes all year long, it isn’t too much to ask for the Valedictorian and Salutatorian to be recognize for their academics and scholarly accomplishments after 12 years of high school.


March 16th, 2012
10:23 am

If we could all play by the same rules then naming a particular student for a particular honor would be great. However, everyone seems to think that rules apply to everyone else but them. For example, our chosen valedictorian had to drop an AP class she was bombing in order to maintain their standing. Someone got hosed. Give ‘em all trophies.

...and we wonder why

March 16th, 2012
10:26 am

just what we need, stop recognizing hard work and acheivement.


March 16th, 2012
10:32 am

Keep valedictorian and salutatorian, not so kids can get used to competition, but because it’s right that we celebrate achievement. As others have said, make the rules known to the students when they enter 9th grade, and don’t change them. Keep the extra weights on AP/honors courses or say that, in order to be considered for Val/Sal, students must take at least two AP/honors courses per year, one from either social studies or English and one from math or science. I’m not sure I believe that electives should count, but I think that those who excel in art, music, etc. could be recognized during the graduation ceremony.

@Maureen, I wonder if the young man in the newsroom that you refer to graduated with my nephew. The boy in my nephew’s class was demoted to co-valedictorian after a girl in their class was allowed to count her grade as a library helper. Her family is much more prominent in our small county, and the principal at the time is her uncle.

At our newer high school, there is some flap over STAR student this year. One young man, whose family is rather poor, has a combined SAT score of close to 2300, while a boy from a more prominent family has a score only in the 2100s. The school wants to give STAR student to the latter, supposedly because there was a cutoff date and the other boy did not make it. It seems to me that the cutoff date should be just before the graduation programs go to press.

Hillbilly D

March 16th, 2012
10:45 am

This is nothing new. I have one relative who is still bitter and jealous because they lost out on valedictorian to another relative of mine, back in the early 1960’s. That’s life; deal with it.

EC Mom

March 16th, 2012
11:12 am

Yes, some kids and parents are too competetive. That doesn’t mean we should eliminate all competition. The schools need to more carefully consider how they compute GPA for graduation honors and have the procedure well documented, and some parents and students need to get over their belief that the rules apply to everyone but them.

As far as the recent Gainesville case, if the school’s written policy allows for discretion when two students are within a hundreth of a point, then I see no problem with naming two valedictorians (unless race was the motivating factor in naming the second student as well – that is pretty pathetic if race was the reason). Personally, I think the mother of the boy with the (just barely) higher GPA looks like an idiot pitching such a fit about it. Her kid is valedictorian whether he’s the only one or there are two. You can bet that if it was her kid who finshed second by less than a hundreth of a point she’d be goign to the newspaper pitching a fit to have her child named co-valedictorian. Now if school policy states that highest GPA prevails, end of story, then the school needs to stick with that policy no matter how close the top two GPAs are.


March 16th, 2012
11:20 am

Yes we should have valedictorians. In an effort to maintain both competition and recognition, I’d use something like John’s suggestion (March 16th, 9:09 am.) Select a Valedictorian by whatever system your district uses. Just make sure the system is documented clearly. It is important to recognize the top level students. I would have the Latin honors, summa/ magna/ cum laude, but I’d also have a Valedictory level recognition. Every student within 0.1 points of the top student gets special recognition on the diploma and at the graduation. You can highlight their individual top academic accomplishment (best AP performance, most college classes, top unadjusted GPA, etc.) This will give the leading students something positive even if the difference maker was a class schedule that scored your classes differently. (i.e. The arms race for the valedictorian title has caused students to shun honor arts classes because those classes aren’t weighted as highly. Sad to think a student gave up enjoyable classes because you cannot get enough GPA credit.)

Slade Gilwater

March 16th, 2012
11:22 am

Gawd, what have we come to? You know, with distractions like this (that some “bloggers” are intent upon using their space for) public schools have become an annoyance and are in danger of going away (good riddance IMHO). And no matter what the subject, the “race card” is always, always used.


March 16th, 2012
11:27 am

Competition is what makes anything worth doing. The kid in Maureen’s story is a leader.

carlosgvv’s world would be great if you like lazy pieces of schlitz.

Taxi Smith

March 16th, 2012
11:32 am

Could we at least retain Best Looking, Most Talented, Most Likely to Succeed? Hate to lose those….


March 16th, 2012
11:33 am

Okay, if the calculation to determine Valedictorian is so complex you have to get a Phd to figure it out, it is time to scrap the program. My youngest daughter’s private school uses the Latin system and I much prefer that. At the end of the day, the top students in the class have accomplished a great deal and should have a wonderful life in front of them. They will have their choice of colleges and/or career paths.

I would much prefer they focus on their studies to become a well rounded student and person. Take that Art class or Shop class and to hell with the GPA calculation. I took woodshop in high school and it has been a hobby that I enjoy to this day.

BTW, if I remember correctly, I thought the STAR student was the top student as voted on by the teachers – not the one with the highest SAT score.

Regarding the Gainesville brouhaha, the mother of the black student was the one who stirred up all the controversy. I recall a video clip showing the mother proclaiming “Ain’t nobody gonna run ovah mah baybee…” and the young man sitting on a pew looking as though he wished he could crawl under it. Then the various race baiters from the local NAACP promising to “take it to the streets.”

Geesh, what a bunch of losers. What should have been a joyous moment for this student turned into a three ring circus by an idiot mom.


March 16th, 2012
11:38 am

Batgirl- I may be wrong but I think the star student is selected on SAT score out of 1600 ( CR and Math). It is quite feasible that a kid with a combine total of 2300 scores less out of 1600 than the kid with a score in the 2100’s. The cut off date is sometime in Oct of the students senior year.

Maureen Downey

March 16th, 2012
11:40 am

@Taxi, I once spoke to a yearbook staff at a high school and suggested ditching those awards — which typically go to the friends of the staffers — and barely escaped with my life. Students are very fond of those awards. I also suggested a rule on limiting how many times yearbook staffers could put themselves in the yearbook.
We had a limit at my high school when I was one of the yearbook editors. If you were in a lot of clubs and were pictured with those clubs, you could not also be in the candid shots. Our goal was to ensure every senior — even kids not on the yearbook staff or in a lot of activities– was in the yearbook at least twice in addition to their senior picture.
I am surprised when I pick up yearbooks in my town and see the yearbook staff on every other page. I have a friend whose son was not in a single shot beyond his senior photo and they ran the wrong name under his photo. (And he was in clubs and sports.)

Hillbilly D

March 16th, 2012
11:41 am

Granted it’s been a long time but I honestly can’t remember a single thing that happened at my high school graduation. I think the only important thing that happened was that I got my diploma. All the speechifying and ceremonial stuff was just window dressing.

Taxi Smith

March 16th, 2012
11:42 am


March 16th, 2012
11:44 am

Oops- I should have googled Star student before I posted. The guidelines have changed since last year.( My D was star student)


Take the three-part SAT any year on any national testing date through and including November 5, 2011. Important: November 5, 2011, is the last acceptable SAT test date for the 2012 PAGE STAR program.

Maureen Downey

March 16th, 2012
11:45 am

@Hillbilly, I agree with you. Not sure why high schools make folks sit through long speeches by assorted people, especially outside in 90 degrees. My daughter’s graduation was 30 minutes with one short speech. My son’s felt like three hours but I think it was actually 90 minutes. The unrelenting sun on the bleachers just made it seem longer. And the sound system had wobbly spots so we could not make out a word being said in our section of the stadium.

Hillbilly D

March 16th, 2012
11:52 am


Slightly off-topic but it pertains to your yearbook comments. In my high school, there was a guy who got his picture taken with the French Club, every single year. The French Club was probably less than a dozen people but he always managed to get in the picture, even though he was never in the club and never even took French. That was his way of tweaking the establishment, I think.


March 16th, 2012
11:53 am

I say ditch the valedictorian. Why? Because when I was in high school ( a small system in Georgia with a graduating class of about 100), I took THE hardest course work over 4 years of high school of anybody in my graduating class. I took three classes at the Jr College my senior year (including English, Chemistry, and Calculus), and those were figured into my GPA. I was about 4th-5th in my graduating class.

Pure GPA does not take into account level of difficulty. Comparisons of GPA alone are still apples-to-oranges comparisons.


March 16th, 2012
12:13 pm



March 16th, 2012
12:17 pm

That’s exactly why we have a generation that thinks they’ve won something when they haven’t.

The perfect example is Iraq/Afghanistan. We don’t have what it takes to do what is necessary to win. And it shows.

Ron F.

March 16th, 2012
12:25 pm

Like anything else, there will always be those who think they should have gotten it but didn’t. For the kids who are in contention, it’s a huge deal. I’ve never thought about doing away with it, even with the arguments about it.

“The perfect example is Iraq/Afghanistan. We don’t have what it takes to do what is necessary to win. And it shows.”

We did “win” in Iraq- Hussein fell. All we’ve done since is try to keep peace. They asked us to leave- we did.

Afghanistan: much like Viet Nam- a very unwinnable war. We had taliban leaders at the table talking until just recently. No clear objective, no clearly defined enemy. It’s not like they’re wearing uniforms. After nearly 11 years, I’d say it’s time to come home- we’ve done all we could.

Ron F.

March 16th, 2012
12:27 pm

resno2: PLEASE not those!! ;-)

I have a drawer full of them now. The idea behind them is good-hearted, but I do get tired of seeing one for everything.

William Casey

March 16th, 2012
12:28 pm

I still treasure my “gold tassle” as an honor grad from high school. LOL Since I wasn’t in the running for Val or Sal, I didn’t worry about that. Finished 3rd in college class, dealt with that by dating the woman who finished 2nd. A guy was Val and I wasn’t willing to go that far. We have to keep these thngs in perspective. LOL+


March 16th, 2012
12:57 pm

@William Casey…..I agree 100% , the “gold tassle” , honor sash , NHS pin and emblem on my diploma was enough for me. Like I said, simpler times and nothing controversial.


March 16th, 2012
1:25 pm

Why not just standardize and clarify the requirements for valedictorian across the county, and leave it alone? Those kids worked their butts off and should be recognized. The valedictorian here last year had over a 4.6 GPA and killed himself for four years straight to get it.

But no, let’s dump it. Forget recognizing and encouraging achievement. Let’s just continue to take resources away from them (and the actual students who would like to learn and need legit help) and keep pumping it into kids who’d rather not be there and who would be better suited for the vocational and not college prep diploma. Makes sense to me.


March 16th, 2012
2:19 pm

@Sally, thanks for the info.

bootney farnsworth

March 16th, 2012
3:47 pm

schools honoring academic excellence?
oh my God, no.

Ed Johnson

March 16th, 2012
7:48 pm

“When I explained that the goal wasn’t to win but to have fun, he complained, ‘It’s not fun if there’s no winner.’”

So now we know what we do to some children. And those children become adults. And those adults continue the vicious cycle of win-lose with their children. And some of those adults become legislators of State of Georgia. And those state legislators make laws that promote win-lose at the expense of promoting the common good. No wonder Georgia thought it would be fun to play and win in Obama’s Race to the Top game.


March 17th, 2012
8:24 am

One thing about “playing Obama’s Race to the Top game:” compared to other states, Georgia has nowhere to go but UP – the question is going to be whether or not the new standards are truly and accurately tested, and whether or not there are real consequences for not meeting those standards, or if we get another shell game like “exceeding expectations” just for being at or near grade level.

And yes, I think we should continue to have valedictorians, but I think harder classes should be given more weight in the calculations and I think students ought to have to attend a minimum number of classes on campus to qualify for the honor.