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ERIC Number: ED502114
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Sep-22
Pages: 30
Abstractor: ERIC
College Rankings Reformed: The Case for a New Order in Higher Education
Carey, Kevin
Education Sector
The annual "U.S. News and World Report" "America's Best Colleges" issue has become the nation's de facto higher education accountability system, evaluating colleges and universities on a common scale and creating strong incentives for institutions to do things that raise their ratings. But, says the author, the "U.S. News" ranking system is deeply flawed. Instead of focusing on the fundamental issues of how well colleges and universities educate their students and how well they prepare them to be successful after college, the magazine's rankings are almost entirely a function of three factors: fame, wealth, and exclusivity. As a result, the rankings lead colleges and universities to focus their energies on becoming wealthier, more famous, and more exclusive, sometimes at the expense of educating their students well. New research and advances in technology, writes Carey, in the last several years have led to a variety of new metrics and data sources that together offer a significant opportunity to measure how well colleges and universities are preparing their undergraduate students. The new measures provide information about a range of factors like teaching quality, student learning, graduation rates, and success after college, and offer the opportunity to replace existing college rankings with a significantly improved system. This report explains what the new measures can show, how those measures can be combined into new college rankings, and why the new rankings would benefit both students and colleges. (Contains 20 endnotes, 6 figures and 5 tables.)
Education Sector. 1201 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 850, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-552-2840; Fax: 202-775-5877; Web site:
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation for Education
Authoring Institution: Education Sector
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A