Are Indiana high school vals, sals soon to be extinct?

As a growing number of school districts across the state revamp the traditional system that designates valedictorians and salutatorians, the local perspective on such class rankings is something of a mixed bag.

According to the National Association of Secondary School Principals, about half of schools no longer report class rank.

Indiana school districts in Hamilton County, Kokomo and Fort Wayne will rethink their ranking system, according to Indiana Public Broadcasting. Many districts are instead incorporating the laude system that’s similar to the way universities recognize graduates based on grade-point average.

The Associated Press reported that colleges are now adjusting to the increasing number of applications that arrive without a rank, though many applications do ask for it if it’s available.

Two of Knox County’s three public school corporations have stuck with the ranking system.

Lincoln High School within the Vincennes Community School Corp. is the only one that does not report class rank in the traditional sense, and Principal Steve Combs said it’s been that way for as long as he can remember.

“I graduated from Lincoln in 1990 and we didn’t have a valedictorian or salutatorian at that time,” he said.

“How we recognize our grades is through honors and high honors, and there is a top graduate award that’s given at Senior Awards Night.

Superintendent Greg Parsley has worked in education for over 20 years, with both schools that rank students and schools that don’t.

The primary issue with the system, he said, is related to weighting grades – something that has become trickier considering the wide variety of classes that are offered within high schools.