The decision is motivated by a desire to encourage colleges to use a more holistic review for every student by making decisions on factors outside of just GPA and class rank. In other Texas districts, removing rank has resulted in significant increases in the percentages of students outside the top 10% accepted to A&M and UT.
However, as more Texas districts have shifted to no-rank systems, UT, A&M, and other in-state public colleges have devised their own systems to approximate rank when none is given. This is out of necessity: A&M, for example, received 35,494 applications in 2017 for freshman admission. At that volume, the admissions staff cannot read every application. Large public colleges often rely on algorithms that use numerical data to provide information that constitutes the bulk of an admissions decision. Removing rank creates a whole in that system, and the college has to patch it as best as possible. For some students, this might be helpful, but for others it will be hurtful.
The district has explained the decision as also being motivated to discourage students from playing the "GPA game" -- taking classes for the sole purpose of boosting their GPA, and rank, instead of because the class best matches their goals and objectives. This policy change, coupled with the lesser weight for AP and PAP classes voted on last December, is a step in the right direction for that end. I have long bemoaned the GPA game as well, but since Texas public schools cannot get rid of the top 10% rankings, I'm not sure how much this disincentives students as so many are playing the game to get into that upper-echelon of the decile scale.
I have two questions I have asked about this change, using the form created for questions.
1. When do students have to make a decision about whether or not they want rank included on their transcripts?
2. Can students opt to have rank excluded for some colleges but included for others?
The college admission landscape is so diverse that what might be advantageous at one school for admission might be disadvantageous for another, especially when scholarships hinge on class rank percentages. I see many students on my current roster who would most benefit from the choice of having rank excluded for their application to UT or A&M, but included for scholarship purposes at other schools, such as St. Edward's, Texas Tech, or Texas State.
I'm looking forward to reviewing more information as it becomes available and I welcome your comments, questions, or concerns as this policy change relates to the broader world of college admission.
Questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org