MAKING RANK. The Chronicle of Higher Education had an excellent article this week about the controversy over U.S. News and World Report's annual college and university rankings. As the WaPo reported this weekend, universities are as usual less than pleased with the power these listings have. The Chronicle fleshes out some of the methodological problems with the rankings: "In 1997 U.S. News hired a consultant, the National Opinion Research Center, to evaluate its methodology. 'The principal weakness of the current approach is that the weights used to combine the various measures into an overall rating lack any defensible empirical or theoretical basis,' the analysis concluded." The article further points out that the survey highly favors private institutions over public ones and that it hasn't adjusted faculty salaries for the disproportionate cost of living across the country. There are, of course, more sound ways to assess the quality of higher education.
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