Friday, October 9, 2015

College Rankings in the NYT

Because of my previous recommended reading, you had to know that when I saw this article staring back at me last week at my local Peet's, that my interest would be piqued.

Apparently the Obama administration has a new College Scorecard out. In all that this scorecard does, it certainly doesn't get to the "heart of the matter" in terms of telling you which institutions are "better" for your student/you. It certainly has a bias to it - which is unfortunate.

You should definitely read the entire article by James Stewart, and I'm really glad that he got the paycheck that the Scorecard focuses on out of the way and got someone to deal with "value added" colleges.
When that is done - because all of those liberal arts majors add so much to our society (really, would you want to live someplace where everyone was a scientist or engineer???), I find it interesting that there is yet another system that gives completely divergent rankings than even Scorecard or the woeful and highly flawed US New & World Report rankings.
The "top schools" become: Cogate, Carleton, Washington and Lee, Westmont, and Kenyon for the first five. The highest ranked Ivy was Brown at no. 45.

And the article closes with what is clearly the best quote coming from Jerry Z. Muller - who has studied the misuse of metrics in his research - saying that an obsession with college graduate earnings "is just the most recent example of a larger phenomenon, which is that the gathering of numerical information acts as a kind of wish fulfillment. If you have enough metrics and benchmarks, somehow people believe that's going to solve a major problem. It rarely does."

Such a good ending to a really interesting story.

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