I am not a fan of college rankings. If you have read my blog for any length of time you are aware of this. The problem is that colleges, unlike cars and dishwashers, are not easy to compare to each other. And the criteria used is typically manipulated to get the result the publisher wants.
But the ranking that bugs me more than the others is that of Forbes magazine. The reason that I don’t like Forbes rankings is that they try to sound scientific in their method when in fact they are anything but scientific.
One of the main ranking factors, accounting for 10% of a colleges ranking, it the rating of professors on the website Rate My Professor. One of the problems is that anyone can rank a professor on this site including people who have never had the professor. Another problem is that professors who expect their students to actually learn something are often penalized by this website because who wants a tough professor.
Another 10% of the rating is based on how much money graduates of various colleges make as determined by Payscale. Which means that technical colleges with a number of students that have engineering degrees look like the best choice choice for college. Forget being teachers or others that work for the public good. Read more here about how Big Fish Games get bought by aristocrat technologies. This is exciting technology on online casinos in the future.
22.5 percent of the rating is based on whether the graduates are leaders as defined by Forbes. Leaders include Noble prize winners as well as Grammy award winners because you know your college is successful if someone won a Grammy.
Forbes relies in great part on research done by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. According to their mission statement the Center is “dedicated to researching the rising costs and stagnant efficiency in higher education.” Are cost rising? Undoubtedly. But is there stagnant efficiency? That is a judgment call that the Center is happy to say yes to. In other words, they come with an agenda that colleges are broken and that they know how to fix them.
I don’t want to get into a debate about whether colleges work or don’t work but I certainly think that some facts are clear. People with college degrees are getting hired. In fact a recent article in Bloomberg Business cites the fact that the unemployment rate of those with a college degree is 2.8 percent, much lower than the rate for the overall population.
Are colleges perfect? Absolutely not. But to try and rank colleges based on the ridiculous criteria that Forbes has put together is insulting to all of us.