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New High School Model UN Rankings

Written by Frank Pobutkiewicz

I'm the founder/Managing Director of the All-American Model UN Programs! If you have any questions, please email [email protected]. Happy MUNing!

February 24, 2016

New High School Model UN Rankings

Dear Community,

Due to an increasing number of requests from students and teachers, the All-American Model United Nations Program is creating a new system of rankings for high school teams that compete at US Model UN conferences.

I understand that this is a controversial decision, and I have the utmost respect for all who disagree with it. Participating in critical discussion is at the core of Model United Nations, and I ask of those who do disagree with the notion of high school rankings to show the same respect to my decision.

This letter will address quick points about the new ranking system, with a full methodology and explanation posted later this week.

  • The All-American Model UN High School Rankings will be optional. To be part of the ranking system, high school advisors must register their teams. Not all programs have a competitive goal, and it is not fair to force a ranking upon schools that are only interested in the academic component of Model UN.
  • The All-American Model UN High School Rankings will be self reported. Very few conferences share award information publicly or privately. Schools that are registered for rankings will voluntarily report their awards from conferences that they attend. I will do my best to verify and check for conflicting awards.
  • The All-American Model UN High School Rankings will be tiered. After researching and analyzing ranking methodologies, I have concluded it is counter-productive to try to delineate between individual programs. Therefore, we will use three tiers, modeled after university Latin honors: White Tier (top 5 teams, our version of summa cum laude), Blue Tier (next top 10 teams, our magna cum laude), and Red Tier (next top 25 teams, our cum laude).
  • The All-American Model UN High School Rankings are designed to be benchmarks of performance. The goal of the new ranking system is to give competitive high school teams the ability to benchmark their performance against other top teams and past teams from their school.
  • There will not be different categories for small and large teams. The statistical model we designed is our best attempt at comparing teams of any size, with full knowledge that many teams bring a different number of students to different conferences.

Why Rankings Are Important

After receiving requests to create a team ranking system, it was important to me to find out why students, teachers, and even parents were asking for one. Creating destructive competition–competing solely for the metric rather than the merit–was not something I wanted to take part in. Here are some of the top reasons provided:

  1. School Funding. Multiple teachers reported to me that their headmasters and school boards need an easier-to-understand metric when allocating funding requests.
  2. Incentivizing Participation and Performance. Many teachers told me stories of being able to recruit more students with greater ease by displaying their national ranking. Many also confided that preparation, solution development, and practice are at a higher level when healthy competition is introduced.
  3. Community Funding. Many high schools have booster clubs that help to support their travels. Being able to show sponsors and local businesses a national ranking makes fundraising from the community significantly easier.
  4. Benchmarking and School Pride. As previously explained, national rankings let teams compare their success with other top programs, and they provide an important benchmark to compare against previous years. Many students and parents take a great amount of pride in their performance and appreciate recognition for their efforts.

Starting in Fall 2016

It is not my intention to publish rankings with incomplete or rushed data. Starting in Fall 2016, if we have at least 20 schools sign-up, we will begin to compile data to formulate rankings. If your school is interested, please submit the form below.

Methodology Overview

I will publish a full explanation of the ranking methodology once I have built the complete statistic model, but here is an overview without the mathematical explanation:

  • The ranking system is built on the assumption that an average delegation size at a conference is 12 students. The ranking will assume that competitive schools will bring at least 12 competitive delegates.
  • The ranking system will not penalize schools that bring larger delegations– it will not be per capita. The system is designed to encourage schools to bring more students for training and to gain experience. At the same time, the system will not penalize small teams by simply adding all of the awards of larger teams.
  • The ranking system is not designed to determine delegation awards at a single conference because it cannot account for against whom awards are won. For example, if two teams win the same number of awards, but one team wins all their gavels against the first team, the system cannot differentiate. The system is built to compare results from an entire season.
  • The ranking system will not take delegation awards into account. Conferences use different methodologies to choose delegation awards, and our system is designed for complete transparency.
  • The ranking system will be completely transparent. The math and formulas will be made available, so there will be no guess work or perceived favoritism.
  • The ranking system will value awards from conferences based on their classification. The conference categories are designed to reflect the level of competition at varying conferences across the country. Academic conference performance will not be considered because these conferences have placed their educational experience as a priority, and we respect that decision.

I look forward to the healthy and respective competition the new ranking system will bring to the high school circuit. If everyone commits to raising the educational bar, these rankings can have an incredibly positive effect. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to reach out to me.


Frank Pobutkiewicz

[email protected]

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