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Decile Ranking?

yahoooyahooo Registered User Posts: 1,386 Senior Member
edited February 2007 in College Admissions
What exactly is the decile system? I'm around 2-3, so does that mean I'm top 20-30%? (By the way, my school doesn't rank)
Post edited by yahooo on

Replies to: Decile Ranking?

  • TarhuntTarhunt Registered User Posts: 2,138 Senior Member
    Well, if your school doesn't rank, why do you have a 2-3?
  • yahoooyahooo Registered User Posts: 1,386 Senior Member
    Because there is a list of GPA ranges with the corresponding decile number next to them. I guess my school doesn't assign a specific numerical ranking like x/y...
  • TarhuntTarhunt Registered User Posts: 2,138 Senior Member
    OK. But they still rank. I don't know what a 2-3 would mean, but it would be a fair guess that this is 2nd/3rd decile. That would be top 20% or 30%.

    I hate the decile system. I think it's the worst means of reporting class rank.
  • ferrisbuellerferrisbueller Registered User Posts: 448 Member
    actually schools often report deciles without ranking, that's exactly what my school does. However our school doesn't record which decile we are in on our transcript, they just list the deciles in the school profile. What don't you like about deciles tarhunt?
  • AdOfficerAdOfficer College Rep Posts: 374 Member
    Many, many, many schools now only report decile rank to selective colleges. However, if you are one of the top 5 students in your class, often times a counselor will tell us that to distinguish you a wee bit more from the rest of your class.
  • ferrisbuellerferrisbueller Registered User Posts: 448 Member
    yeah, at my school to distinguish the top few kids graduate "cum laude" and an award is given at thee end of each year to the student in each class with the highest GPA, so they still sort of drop hints.
  • TarhuntTarhunt Registered User Posts: 2,138 Senior Member

    As Paul Attewell has so effectively demonstrated, class rank has an outsized effect on admissions to the most selective schools in the country. He also demonstrated that the quality of the student body has too little effect on the interpretation of class rank. In other words, being in the top 10% at a school with an average SAT score of 1200 is about the same, at many schools, as being in the top 10% in a school where the average SAT score is 900.

    I was on a school district task force that examined this issue for about six months and decided to stop all reporting of class rank, deciles, or distributions. Our conclusion was pretty simple: reporting class rank in our district reduced our students' chances of getting into their schools of first choice, reduced their chances at merit awards, and caused ridiculous GPA gamesmanship that hurt the educations our students were getting.

    The issue with deciles is two-fold. First, reporting a kid as being in the second decile means that the school is obligated to report this kid to US News as not being in the top 10%. At small schools, this can be a substantial burden, and I and others were told by admissions officers that second decile could be a deal breaker (Note: if no rank is given, students are pulled out of US News reporting). Second, a kid at the 89.9 percentile looks a lot worse than the kid one spot above her at the 90th percentile. Deciles just exacerbates the problem. If one must rank, numerical rankings are different.

    And then there is the "wink, wink" stuff that high schools do. Giving GPA distributions on a graph or listing cutoffs for deciles are two methods that allow admissions officers to easily impute class rank and enter it onto a rubric.

    Our district decided that admission officers are more likely to do a holistic assessment of a kid if class rank is omitted. Many ad. officers we spoke to concurred.
  • ferrisbuellerferrisbueller Registered User Posts: 448 Member
    I would agree with you totally that rank should not be reported at all, it definitely hurts kids. Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems that you're problem is with rank, not deciles specifically, and I totally agree with you there. I don't necessarily have a problem with "wink wink" stuff, I don't think colleges weigh those factors as heavily as a clearly stated rank. The college I'm attending next year could have used my school's profile to see that my GPA puts me at the top of my school's fourth decile, and only 1% of incoming freshman at that college were in the 4th decile or lower. The wink wink stuff gives colleges some idea of where you stand, however I don't think they give it the same emphasis as a printed black and white rank.
  • TarhuntTarhunt Registered User Posts: 2,138 Senior Member

    It depends on the school. I talked to many admissions officers when doing this research, and read scores of reports on interviews with others. Most colleges have some sort of rubric that includes a slot for class rank. When class rank isn't included, they will put down an imputed number when they can reasonably impute one. Distributions allow them to do that with a fair degree of accuracy. Some schools told us that, if given a decile rank, they'll write down the middle of the decile, which is good for someone at the 90th percentile, but not so good for someone at the 99th.

    Yes, my problem is the idiotic practice of reporting class rank to colleges when a high school is a very high performing one. Reporting rank in deciles is just a means of reporting class rank in the worst possible way.
This discussion has been closed.