#083 – Today, I uncover the fallacy of common methods of ranking colleges and universities.
On any day, it is very common to hear talk about so-called best colleges, top colleges, ranked colleges, highly-ranked colleges, top-10 colleges, etcetera.
These designations are usually based on rankings published every year, mostly by newspapers and magazines, such as, The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, and The U.S. News & World Report, as well as The Princeton Review, better known for providing test prep and tutoring services.
On this episode I shed light on the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, the most popular of all. I begin the episode by going over what most people believe the rankings indicate, namely, that the higher a college or university ranks, the better the quality of education students receive in those institutions.
At least, that is what a logical person would gather after hearing the term “Best Colleges Rankings.”
As the episode progresses, I go over some of the factors used in the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Rankings, and allow you to gauge for yourself whether these rankings should be taken seriously.
Prepare to be surprised. Although I do not go over all the factors, it is very easy to see that the factors that are given the most weight in the rankings, are highly subjective, in which college administrators are asked to give their opinions about other colleges and universities, even those they have never visited before.
You will also find it easy to see that the factors that are more objective, meaning that they are based on data, are factors that cannot be used to determine the level of quality of education in any institution.
Resources used and mentioned on this episode:
Challenge Success: A non-profit affiliated with the Stanford University Graduate School of Education. We provide schools and families with proven strategies that promote well-being and engagement with learning in order to transform the student experience into one where all kids can create their own paths to success.
Colleges That Change Lives: Profiles of the colleges listed as of today.
You can also listen to the following two episodes of Revisionist History, the podcast by Malcolm Gladwell, to learn more about the fallacy of college rankings:
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