THE RANKINGS….Over at Tapped, Sam Boyd says our college rankings are rigged. In particular, he doesn’t like the fact that the research component of the score deals in absolute numbers (dollars spent, PhDs awarded), which automatically rewards big schools:
Is a school with 50,000 students and $500 million dollars in research spending doing more for the country than one that has 5,000 students and $250 million in spending? The rankings are ostensibly meant to help “alumni wanting to get a sense of their alma maters’ commitment to the public interest” and “elected officials trying to think of ways to get more bang for the public bucks they’re charged with spending on higher education.” Yet wouldn’t either of those groups care more the efficiency of the university than its overall size? Isn’t a college that is small but extremely efficient at producing research more admirable than one that is vast, but only spends a small part of its resources on research?
Count me on Sam’s side here. In fact, this has always been my biggest gripe with our rankings. Why penalize small schools merely for being small? It’s crazy.
Care to weigh in, Paul?