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The Washington Monthly College Rankings
- January 22, 2011
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Having had enough of U.S. News & World report’s college and university rankings, The Washington monthly decided to produce their own rankings because in their opinion the U.S. News rankings of colleges was seriously flawed.
The Washington Monthly noted that U.S. News and other such ranking services did an awful job of measuring the actual academic excellence of the educational institutions.
Consequently, parents and students ended up with not having the right data for selection of colleges and universities. Universities were focusing more and more on such things as colorful brochures rather than increasing the quality of their education – which is supposed to be their main purpose.
Moreover, The Washington Monthly argues that billions of tax-payers dollars, in student aid and research grants, should be put to good use. Good colleges undertake important research that boost up the economy.
They also shape the minds and ethics of younger citizens who, in future, will lead the country. In their opinion, it is imperative that people should know which colleges and Universities are doing that.
Ranking Criteria and Methodology
Precisely for this purpose, This newspaper compiled together their college rankings with a completely different set of criteria – most notably – the benefit received by the country from them. The three main aspects of this ranking are: Its impact on social mobility, does it foster humanistic and scientific research, and whether it promotes ethics that serve the country.
For The Washington Monthly, Academic excellence is the core issue. Though, research and social service mobility also allows to better judge a college, these are not included in the rankings. The reason is that it is very difficult to obtain reliable data about how much of these a student can learn in a college classroom.
Their ratings are criticized for focusing too much on academic excellence and not taking into account other aspects of educational establishments.
They insists that the data regarding excellence in fields other than academics does exist but the colleges are reluctant to provide them for the fear that they might adversely affect their ratings.
The Washington monthly hopes that their rating will help citizens and government officials in decision-making while giving subsidies and making regulations about higher education since the incomes for most Americans has dropped recently with no hopes of rising in the near future. Other countries, America’s economic competitors are investing more and more on building up their human resource capital.
Rankings not only reflect priorities, it also sets them. The Washington daily argues that although their rankings influence prospective students, they also effect the colleges themselves.
The main objective of The Washington Monthly college review is to inspire colleges to aim for higher standard set down by U.S. News and World report.
Hoping to boost their scores, colleges might enroll more and more lower income students. They will also make sure that most of these students graduate. They will strive to produce more doctors, engineers and scientist resulting in a more democratic, prosperous and equitable country.