At Academic Influence, we learn:
The U.S. News rankings are flawed. But are they better than nothing? True, they’ve led to a standardization of how certain college data are presented. Moreover, they are useful to high school students whose college counselors are absent or unavailable — if only to get some broad sense of which schools are good and which are better.
But on balance, the U.S. News rankings make higher education worse. Schools are motivated to “game” the U.S. News rankings, introducing superficial and even counterproductive changes that raise their ranking but do nothing to provide a better education for students or a more productive environment for faculty. Worse yet, some schools will simply lie to U.S. News to increase their ranking.Staff, “College Rankings Held Hostage: The Undeserved Monopoly of US News Rankings” at Academic Influence
Here are some examples:
- Are Rankings Being Rigged (Again)? Scott Jaschik, who has been writing against the U.S. News rankings for years, returns to this topic here, focusing on “two lawsuits charg[ing] that the Rutgers Business School inflated its rank by hiring its own students through a placement company.” This is the persistent pattern: the U.S. News rankings incentivize dishonest and perverse behavior on the part of schools, which then leads to their embarrassment and censure. Yet U.S. News consistently sidesteps all responsibility. This needs to change.
- Do the ‘U.S. News’ Rankings Rely on Dubious Data? Researchers who submit to the publication say survey answers are subject to errors, ambiguity, and pressure to look good. This piece, by Francie Diep, which appeared the same day in the Chronicle of Higher Education as the article by Colin Diver cited below, forms a companion piece to Diver’s. Its title and subtitle are likewise self-explanatory. The subtitle might have added that the survey answers are also subject to fudging, misrepresentation, lying, and outright fraud.
- The Rankings Farce: ‘U.S. News’ and its ilk embrace faux-precise formulas riven with statistical misconceptions. The title and subtitle of this piece by Colin Diver, former president of Reed College (from 2002-2012), is self-explanatory. It appeared April 6, 2022 in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Diver has publicly criticized the U.S. News rankings for now almost two decades. In this piece, Diver breaks the statistical problems with the U.S. News rankings into six sub-problems, the last of which is “One Size Doesn’t Fit All; the ‘Best College’ Illusion.” He also plugs Reed’s continued resistance to the U.S. News rankings.
- Temple’s former business school dean was sentenced to 14 months in rankings scandal fraud. Article by Jeremy Roebuck and Susan Snyder in the March 11, 2022 issue of The Philadelphia Inquirer announcing the sentencing of Moshe Porat, who as dean of Temple University’s Fox School of Business had lied to U.S. News, there
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