U.S. News & World Report, the magazine that annually publishes one of the country’s most influential college ratings, may make some minor changes in the methodology the magazine uses to rate schools.

Robert Morse, director of data research for U.S. News, writes that for next year the magazine may include high school guidance counselors’ rankings of colleges as a component of the way the magazine calculates academic reputation. The magazine may also put admit yield—the percentage of admitted candidates who actually attend the school —back into the rankings calculation. He gave no indication why he thought these changes might be beneficial. In addition, he writes that,

We are contemplating eliminating the Third Tier from all the National Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Master’s Universities, and Baccalaureate Colleges rankings tables in print and online. We would extend the numerically ranking to the top 75 percent of all schools in each category, up from the top 50 percent now. There would still be the bottom 25 percent of each category listed alphabetically, and that group might be renamed to something like the 4th Quartile. We believe that the data is strong enough to numerically rank more schools, and the public is asking for more sequential rankings since it’s less confusing than listing schools in tiers.

It does seem a little odd to have a fourth quartile without any specific first, second and third quartiles. Perhaps I’m missing something, however.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer