Monday, July 30, 2007

University Rankings

For the 16 of you who checked the site over the weekend (I am shocked the number is that high), you may have noticed there were no updates. Given the constraints on my time at work, I require a much lower marginal utility of blogging to blog from HRSDC than I need at home, where my options are much expanded. Ergo, don't expect updates on weekends.

Overcoming Bias (HT: Free Exchange) posts on the apparent irony of universities asking prospective students to choose a college not based on a ranking, but on a gut feeling while these same institutions accept entrants predominately on the basis of SATs, GREs, and prior grades. And of course, once inside, their achievements will be reduced to another grade - a ranking.

One extract from the Washington Post:
. We must encourage students to look inside their hearts and trust their instincts when it comes to choosing a college, not whether parents or friends think a university is cool or prestigious.

Personally, had any university fed me that sort of touchy-feely entrance propaganda, I would have run screaming.

I accept that a ranking cannot convey the entirety of a university. However, we live in a second-best world. Since visiting all potential campuses for a suitable evaluation period is clearly undoable - and we cannot expect anyone trying to evaluate our education to do the same - rankings constitute a useful tool in helping students and others come to decisions on the value of education.

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