The Washington Monthly College Guide – Other guides ask what colleges can do for you. We ask what are colleges doing for the country – 2005

T his month, U.S. News & World Report releases its annual rankings of colleges. First published in 1983, the guide has become its own mini-event: College presidents, education reporters, alumni, parents, and high school juniors alike all scramble to get their hands on the rankings. Its release is followed by weeks of gloating from the… Read more »

A Note on Methodology – 2007

T here are two primary goals to our methodology. First, we considered no single category to be more important than any other. Second, the final rankings needed to reflect excellence across the full breadth of our measures, rather than reward an exceptionally high focus on, say, research. All categories were weighted equally when calculating the… Read more »

Measuring What Matters

Irked by what they saw as flaws in U.S. News’s methodology for ranking colleges, a group of reformers in the late 1990s pioneered a new approach. With a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, a panel of educational experts set out to develop a way to quantify how well colleges actually teach their undergraduates. The… Read more »

Introduction: A Different Kind of College Ranking

This summer, a group of sixty-one liberal arts college presidents announced that they would no longer participate in the annual U.S. News & World Report college rankings. We were of two minds about this news. On the one hand, we’ve long argued that the U.S. News ratings are silly, because they don’t measure what its… Read more »

What Happened to the Liberal Arts?

Liz Coleman, the president of Bennington College Bennington College talks (in 2009) about what’s wrong with American higher education and how we might be able to fix it. The progression of today’s college student is to jettison every interest except one. And within that one, to continually narrow the focus, learning more and more about… Read more »