Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Do College Rankings Belong on the Sports Pages?

This from The Chronicle: Daily News Blog:

Washington — College rankings may not be to blame for the decline in the quality of higher education in the United States, but they are doing little, if anything, to help. That was the nearly unanimous consensus of a panel of speakers from across the ideological spectrum who gathered here today at the American Enterprise Institute to discuss how the nation assesses the performance of its colleges.

Speakers suggested a variety of alternative approaches, including Europe’s lead in setting learning-outcome standards for universities in more than 40 countries and the Canadian example of letting students set up their own college rankings systems.

Popular rankings of colleges, such as those by U.S. News & World Report, are principally entertainment and belong on the sports pages, said Clifford Adelman, a senior associate at the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Instead of worrying about superficial measures of performance, he said, American colleges need to harmonize degree cycles and university systems in the same way that many European countries are doing through the Bologna Process...

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