U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings is out and of course, everyone bemoans the
shallowness limitations of the rankings. Yet the education establishment can console themselves with the fact that there aren’t any alternatives so it’s okay to use the rankings anyway. Even other media sources seem to reinforce this attitude:
But if the rankings are harmful, what’s the alternative? To date, there hasn’t been one, since colleges and universities haven’t devised their own quality-assessment system for the public.
Except there are alternatives. Enter “college rankings” into Google and while the first four results all have to do the U.S. News and World Report rankings, the fifth one is
College Rankings, Education and Social Science Library, U of I This site provides a compendium of links to online college ranking services for undergraduate and graduate programs, business schools, law schools, … http://www.library.uiuc.edu/edx/rankings.htm – 7k – Cached – Similar pages
which references ten college rankings. The sixth result is The Princeton Review ranking, the seventh, a website of student rankings, and the eighth is the Washington Monthly College Rankings. Why none of these are considered viable alternatives to the U.S. News and World Report rankings I don’t know.
I really shouldn’t be surprised since about the same time last year I was complaining about the reporting concerning the value of the rankings so why would I expect things to change after a year? Oh well. If you’re interested in a different perspective on college rankings, I highly recommend the Washington Monthly College Rankings. I look forward to reading their list next month.