- Rochester Institute of Technology President William Destler tells University Business that high-profile college rankings from publications like U.S. News and World Report and Washington Monthly do a disservice to the higher education system at large by making apples-to-apples comparisons of institutions with widely diverse mission statements.
- Destler's comments reflect long-running criticism of such rankings, as well-funded, highly selective private institutions serving high-performing students have an advantage on such lists over public peers serving significantly more under-prepared and less-affluent students, University Business reports.
- Notably, the criticism of rankings has reached the point that it has its own Wikipedia page.
On just about any "serious" higher ed ranking, you can count on seeing Ivy League schools dominate in the top 10. But even their positions vary between lists, depending on which metrics are used and how much weight they're given. It's a concern we've noted before in the K-12 space, as well. The metrics used are also a matter of debate. For example, alumni salaries, which are now tracked by some lists, don't really say much when it comes to educational quality or satisfaction, as income doesn't really measure either reliably.
Of course, with the number of spin-off rankings for everything from "geekiest" campuses to most attractive students, there's something to be said for the arbitrary nature of such lists. But with the federal government having attempted an approach at measuring colleges and universities, these lists aren't going away anytime soon.