On College Rankings
This essay from the President of Reed College discusses what it’s like to live outside (and inside) the world of college rankings, essentially asking “Are these rankings meaningful?”
It’s a familiar story to anyone who has ever contemplated teaching to the test. As rankings/ratings/grades become more and more important, colleges/schools/students (and teachers) tend to focus more and more on those metrics, perhaps at the expense of what’s really important (whatever that might be).
A perfect rating system, presumably, would compel the rated parties to meet and expand the standard of excellence. But in practice, it seems difficult to come to a consensus about what comprises excellence, and even harder, then, to construct an appropriate rating system.
So how should we measure a college or university?