ERIC Number: ED401785
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Jul-15
Reference Count: N/A
Educational Rankings of Higher Education: Fact or Fiction?
Hattendorf, Lynn C.
Since educational statistics, which are relatively easy to obtain, can only attempt to measure "quality," this paper asks how quality in higher education is assessed and how educational rankings, which are defined as benchmarks or attempts to measure, contribute to this process. The paper notes that while attempts to rank institutions of higher education date to the late nineteenth century, two seminal studies published in the 1980s and 1990s generated immense interest in the academic community and prompted much analysis. Since then there has been a proliferation of annual publications by the media, but the paper cautions that many are not published on a timely basis nor are their data comparable. Some discussion is devoted to the four major ranking methodologies--reputational rankings, citation analysis, faculty productivity, and statistical rankings--and five articles, which are considered classic studies, are noted as are efforts at international rankings. The paper then offers eight requirements for perfect educational rankings, including standardized reporting methods, peer review, multidimensional techniques, and focus on interdisciplinary programs and emerging disciplines. The paper concludes that while statistics-based rankings are based on hard facts, consumers need to be aware of the shortcomings of opinion-based rankings. (Contains 34 reference notes.)(CH)
Descriptors: Citation Analysis, Comparative Analysis, Data Interpretation, Educational Assessment, Educational Quality, Evaluation Criteria, Evaluation Methods, Evaluation Problems, Evaluation Research, Evaluators, Faculty Publishing, Higher Education, Institutional Evaluation, Interrater Reliability, Multidimensional Scaling, Peer Evaluation, Reputation, School Statistics, Statistical Studies, Surveys
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A