Many schools in the US boycott university and college education rankings

Many schools in the US boycott university and college education rankings - Photo 1.

Columbia University in New York City – Photo: NYCGO

The US News & World Report education rankings have long held a dominant position for American higher education.

US News & World Report uses algorithms to process various measurements such as standardized test scores, alumni outcomes, and opinion surveys.

Based on the results of these measurements, this ranking publishes the annual rankings of colleges and universities, as well as graduate schools, business, law and health.

For a long time, parents and politicians have taken these ranking lists seriously. Some schools are given more favor than they deserve.

Professor who once participated in education ratings: ‘I regret it’

Professor H. Holden Thorp – editor-in-chief of the journal Science, and a faculty member in the chemistry department at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, USA – confided: “I spent 15 years in academic management and worked here. There was a choice that I later regretted.

I voluntarily filled out meaningless surveys from US News about the ‘reputation’ of other organizations. For example, sentences like ‘Rate 1-5 for universities’ or ‘Name the 5 most innovative universities’.

I also had to endure meeting after meeting talking about the importance of ‘our university’ having to ‘rise’ above some other university.

And I watched a law school sell my soul. By trying to attract students with high entrance exam scores, the school has offered financial aid, whether they need it or not. It was an unsuccessful attempt to get into US News’ “T-14” – the top 14 law schools in the nation.

Problematic measurement method

The measurement method for ranking schools is said to be problematic.

One is that the rankings are flawed in terms of accuracy. Is there really a difference between 10th and 11th place in university rankings? Johns Hopkins University has a reputation as a great university – whether it’s 10th or 11th, it’s meaningless, even though it’s consistently in the top 10.

The second problem is methodological. It is a ranking that awards points to schools that accept students who have the advantage of pre-college education and are better prepared for exams.

At the same time, the wealth of the students will make them more likely to be future donors. Deserving candidates without such resources will be disqualified.

In addition, other aspects are used in the measurements, such as the size of each class, faculty salaries, faculty-to-student ratio, and the amount of financial aid. This always creates an advantage for universities with large financial resources and income.

Wave of boycott of educational ratings

In recent months, a wave of universities demanding a review of the U.S. News ranking has begun.

In September 2022, Columbia University opted out of the university rankings, after an enterprising professor discovered the university was rigging its own data.

When Columbia University’s data was corrected, it dropped from 2nd to 18th. This allowed other universities to move up in the rankings.

Two months later, law schools started boycotting. Yale Law School and Harvard announced they would decline to provide data to US News. Several prominent law schools have followed suit.

Some excellent law schools like the University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University, and Washington University School of Law in St. Louis is still struggling to make it into the rankings, due to pressure from alumni, students and school trustees. These schools will definitely rank up. Because schools with higher rankings dropped out. At that time, these schools will send out joyful press releases about their new rankings.

The “revolt” against the rankings has now begun in the scientific world as universities such as Pennsylvania, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and the medical school of Washington University in St. Louis also recently hit the charts.

In announcing his decision, the dean of the University of Washington medical school said: “It’s time to stop participating in a system that doesn’t serve our students or their future patients.”

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