Latin Cum Laude System - Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the criteria for receiving honors and how are they distinguished at graduation?
     * Summa Cum Laude: Students with grade point average of 4.0 and above, gold honor’s cord
     * Magna Cum Laude: Students with grade point average of 3.75-3.99, silver honor’s cord
     * Cum Laude: Students with grade point average of 3.5-3.749, orange honor’s cord

    Why did Parkway make the change from class rank to the Latin Cum Laude System?
    Students will not have to be anxious about ranking in the “top 10” in order to receive academic recognition. They are also able to take courses that are related to their career paths even if they are not honors or AP classes.

    When did this change take place?
    This change began with the class of 2016.

    Are there other schools in the area that recognize students using the Cum Laude System?
    Yes….Clayton, Francis Howell, Hazelwood, Ladue, Rockwood, Webster Groves, Principia, Incarnate Word Academy, Lutheran North, Lutheran South, Wentzville, and St. Charles School District.

    What are some of the reasons these schools changed from class rank?
    Some reasons were that students would have an advantage when competing for scholarships, wanting to reward more students for their efforts, to be consistent with surrounding districts, parents urged the district to take a look at current ranking for recognizing graduates, wanted students to explore an array of courses without fear of reprisal, etc.

    What effect will this have on admission to colleges and universities?
    None. After polling selective to highly selective colleges and universities, it was unanimous that eliminating class rank would not impact admission. The majority of the directors of admission stated that they recalculated the grade point averages, consider the rigor of courses taken, time spent in and out of school on extra-curricular activities, letters of recommendation, written essays and personal statements, leadership skills, and test scores.

    Will students have to take more honors classes in order to be competitive with students seeking the highest honors level?
    Because the number of students qualifying for all three honors categories will increase, a student could certainly take fewer honors classes than his/her peers and still receive the Latin Summa Cum Laude highest honor.

    Will Parkway School District recognize a Valedictorian of the class?
    No. The competition for first place in the class will prohibit students from pursuing courses that are aligned with their career choice, since some of these courses may not be available as honors or AP.