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Teachers in Asia usually rank their students according to their academic performance in class. Thus, if there are, say, 23 students in one class, there will be 23 "places," place 1 being the place for the top student and place 23 for the worst.

In this kind of setting, what would be the natural way of inquiring a student's standing in this system (given that you talk to that student for the first time)?

Would this way work:

1) What's your school progress ranking in class?

or maybe this:

2) What's your academic rank in class?

or what would you say?

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These expressions are fine. There could be lots of others. The big picture that you are forgetting is that there would be some context.

If you are talking about school, and you say

"I'm 7th in my class,

Then there is context. You don't need to worry about the phrasing of academic rank, or school progress. Because whatever words you use, you can be understood.

I would be careful of making assumptions. Asia is a big place, and even if you school ranks students in each class, I know not all schools do. So there would naturally be a dialogue. You ask if a class rank system is used, tell him your class rank, then finally ask about his. Context arises from dialogue.

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