THE BAJA POST
For some people, the so called “college rankings” have become a marketing tool, Universities pay a fee in order to be assessed and placed in a “ranking table”, just like Tennis pros or other easy-to-measure evaluations.
Each day, more Universities sell themselves based on Ranking “X” or “Y”, but leave the real educational quality commitment aside in order to attract and lure students to their campuses.
The fact of College Rankings is that reality has been handled by “smart” college representatives, they promote their Universities and other higher educational centers based on Rankings that are easily manipulated, and assessment parameters that are sometimes beyond reality or are subjective values open to the interprenation of the people who use them to speak about their “place on the World Ranking”.
Every day, students consult college and university rankings to find the best schools to attend. And they do so because their money, education, and future depend on making an informed college choice.
But what if those rankings are based on “facts” that aren’t so factual, or worse, just the subjective opinion of someone who filled out a survey?
That would be a very serious issue, showing people the attitude of college and university marketing programs, who worry more to “lure” to students inti their classrooms and facilitiues, nore than really offer a highsr quality education, so they start to seek for the most convenient ranking organizations.
Methodology to rank Colleges and Universities, is not as clear as it should be, and sometimes the rankings are just companies (or businesses) who sell their “prestige” as education assessing organizations, who charge considerable money amounts to “assign a place on the ranking table” for educational institutions so they can “sell” themselves better and at higher prices.
Doubts about school rankings are only gaining momentum. In the past year, scrutiny of college rankings has skyrocketed, including these notable events and stories:
- Malcolm Gladwell investigated and criticized the U.S. News & World Report college and university rankings in his Revisionist History podcast (“Lord of the Rankings” and “Project Dillard”).
- The dean of Temple University’s Fox School of Business was convicted of fraud for submitting fake data to inflate the school’s U.S. News & World Report ranking.
- Bloomberg Businessweek‘s business school rankings were questioned by a Yale School of Management dean, Anjani Jain, when his analysis of the stated methodology used to generate the list produced different results than those published, suggesting hidden factors at work.
- Distortions of Business School Rankings | Interview with Anjani Jain
- Are Colleges Controlled by Rankings? | Interview with Jeffrey Stake
- The “Ranking Game” of Universities | Interview with Jeffrey Stake
- College Rankings Held Hostage: The Undeserved Monopoly of U.S. NewsRankings
Anjani Jain, noted above, is Yale University deputy dean for academic programs and also professor in the practice of management. He details his analysis of the Bloomberg Businessweek ranking methodology used, how he discovered discrepancies that could not explain the results, and what this means for understanding college rankings.
Jeffrey Stake, Robert A. Lucas Chair and Professor of Law at Indiana University Bloomington’s Maurer School of Law, has worked to expose the distorted nature of law school rankings. In his two interviews, he discusses student misperceptions about ranking results, the impact rankings have on colleges, and the ranking game he created that allows students to play with criteria weightings to achieve different—and seemingly arbitrary—results.