IHEP's Efforts to Improve Ranking Systems

The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) has been involved in the international dialogue about ranking since 2002, fostering international dialogue and quality assurance as well as using the lessons learned from ranking in other nations to inform United States practice. In collaboration with the UNESCO-European Centre for Higher Education, IHEP has convened a group of leading international ranking researchers and providers. This work resulted in the 2006 publication of the first-ever international principles for ranking of higher education institutions, the Berlin Principles on Ranking of Higher Education Institutions, whose purpose is to promote a system of continuous improvement and refinement of the methodologies used to conduct these rankings.

IHEP’s current rankings initiative, the New Agenda for College and University Ranking project, supported by Lumina Foundation for Education, focuses on two new lines of research emanating from IHEP’s previous work—how rankings impact the decision making structures of higher education institutions, and whether federal and state policy-makers take rankings into account in developing their own assessments of higher education institutions. IHEP builds on current United States research on how institutions respond to rankings by conducting case studies in other countries to determine other ways in which American institutions might draw on rankings for planning and campus change. IHEP will also survey state and federal policymakers in the United States to determine how rankings have influenced their higher education policy decisions and consider how select state accountability systems align with ranking frameworks. This research will be augmented by similar research from other countries currently in progress. This project will result in a series of issue briefs. This project also supports IHEP's newly established Ranking Systems Clearinghouse for research related to ranking assessment and quality assurance.



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