U.S. News released its influential college rankings Monday, a list that continues to inspire both fascination and derision.
Despite a change in methodology partially in response to recent criticisms, the same Ivy League and highly selective institutions still dominate the top of the list, even though there have been some significant moves among the top 14 ranked schools.
For years, college officials have complained behind closed doors that the U.S. News rankings incentivize behavior that’s not always in the best interest of students.
Much of the broader controversy surrounding U.S. News rankings in higher-education policy circles has centered around the idea that factors that have traditionally played a role in the rankings, like selectivity, standardized-test scores and spending per student, reflect an institution’s wealth and the wealth of the students who attend. Instead, critics have said rankings and the higher-education community should focus more on how colleges improve students’ chances of success.
“Higher education should measure what matters, not just what’s become tradition to measure,” said Diane Cheng, vice president of research and policy at the Institute for Higher Education Policy. “We should recognize and celebrate colleges that help their students.”
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