U.S. News and World Report: Love It or Hate It?


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Learn recommendations developed for both NACAC and U.S. News and World Report regarding key issues, including perceptions of the consequences of the rankings, reliance on the rankings by international students, ensuring the accuracy of reported data, concerns with the use of peer assessments, selectivity measures and institutional wealth, and recent changes to the U.S. News ranking methodology and publications.

Joe Prieto, Retired Counselor – Hinsdale Central High School and Member of NACAC’s Advisory Committee on U.S. News and World Report

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U.S. News and World Report: Love It or Hate It?

  1. 1. COLLEGE RANKINGSAn Update from the NACAC/U.S.News and World Report Ad Hoc Committee www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  2. 2. COLLEGE RANKINGS•  Committee Formation Timeline•  NACAC Dialogue with Other Entities•  Committee Challenges•  Committee Meetings•  US News and World Report Representatives www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  3. 3. COMMITTEE MEMBERSPete Caruso Lee MelvinBoston College University of ConnecticutMike Sexton Bruce ChamberlainSanta Clara University Georgetown UniversityIrene Loan Pam HorneVirginia State University Purdue UniversityJoe Prieto Ralph FigueroaHinsdale Central HS Albuquerque Academy www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  4. 4. COLLEGE RANKINGS•  1983: US News begins its annual rankings of American Colleges and Universities.•  1987: First edition of newsstand book-”America’s Best Colleges.”•  1995: The debut of US News Online www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  5. 5. CURRENT METHODOLOGY•  Academic Reputation 22.5%•  Faculty Resources 20%•  Graduation and Retention 20%•  Student Selectivity 15%•  Financial Resources 10%•  Graduation Rate Performance 7.5%•  Alumni Giving 5% www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  6. 6. COLLEGE RANKINGS Committee Goals•  Establish working dialogue•  Develop and implement survey to current members•  Report survey findings to members and US News•  Establish final recommendations to NACAC Executive Board and membership www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  7. 7. COLLEGE RANKINGS Survey•  Administered to NACAC membership in May of 2010•  Members notified of survey options by various mediums•  Members were given a three week window to complete survey www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  8. 8. COLLEGE RANKINGS Survey•  A total of 9,660 members were sent the survey•  Survey results presented to members in three stages from October 2010-January 2011•  Media Coverage www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  9. 9. COLLEGE RANKINGS Survey Respondents2,649 respondentsCollege 1176High School 1157Independent Counselor 135Organization 84Other 97 www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  10. 10. COLLEGE RANKINGS•  Survey posed fifteen statements•  Reaction scale•  Members were also given an opportunity to provide additional narrative comments•  Questions focused on use, perception, methodology, influence, marketing and admission practices www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  11. 11. COLLEGE RANKINGS Average Perceptions of US News Rankings on "Feeling Thermometer" College High School Total 0 20 40 60 80 100 www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  12. 12. COLLEGE RANKINGS Rankings Are a Helpful Resource for Rankings Create Confusion for Students and Students and Families Interested in College Families Information50.0% 60.0%45.0%40.0% 50.0%35.0% 40.0%30.0% College25.0% College 30.0%20.0% High School15.0% 20.0% Total High10.0% School 10.0% 5.0% 0.0% 0.0% Agree Somewhat Somewhat Disagree Agree Somewhat agree Somewhat disagree Disagree agree disagree www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  13. 13. COLLEGE RANKINGS Do USNWR Rankings cause counter-productive behavior at colleges and universities?70.0%60.0%50.0%40.0% College30.0% High School20.0% Total10.0%0.0% Agree Somewhat Somewhat Disagree agree disagree www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  14. 14. COLLEGE RANKINGS Puts Pressure on Institutions to Invest in School or Institution Makes Programmatic Strategies to Maintain/Improve Ranking? Changes Because of Rankings? College Results Only70.0%60.0% 60.0%50.0% 50.0%40.0% College 40.0%30.0% High School 30.0%20.0% Total 20.0%10.0% 10.0%0.0% 0.0% Yes, consistently Yes, occasionally No Yes, consistently Yes, occasionally No www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  15. 15. GENERAL SURVEY REFLECTIONS Figure 1. Peer Assessments Figure 2. Graduation and Retention Rates45.0% 60.0%40.0%35.0% 50.0%30.0% 40.0% College25.0% College High School 30.0%20.0% High School15.0% Total 20.0% Total10.0% 10.0%5.0%0.0% 0.0% Good indicator Fair indicator Poor indicator Not an indicator Good indicator Fair indicator Poor indicator Not an indicator www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  16. 16. GENERAL SURVEY REFLECTIONS•  Strong Opinions in regards to Academic Reputation portion•  Encouragement to focus on more value added methodology: graduation and retention•  More focus on student engagement and satisfaction•  Constructive suggestions to remove the “rankings variable” and let families interpret data for themselves www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  17. 17. GENERAL SURVEY REFLECTIONS•  Creation of a student “Fit Index”•  Integration of NSSE data into the rankings•  Unhealthy reliance by international students on rankings www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  18. 18. GENERAL SURVEY REFLECTIONS•  Best for whom?•  Increase in prominence over past five years•  What’s in a rank?•  Conflicting messages about utility and usefulness for families•  Positive comments on editorial and featured content www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  19. 19. COLLEGE RANKINGS•  Presentation of Results in Spring of 2011•  Presentation of Final Committee Report in New Orleans in September of 2011•  Report will include recommendations in use, methodology changes and a model for a standing committee on College Rankings www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  20. 20. COLLEGE RANKINGS•  For a review of the Survey findings, please visit this link: www.nacacnet.org/USNews www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  21. 21. DISCUSSION POINTS•  What have been the intended and unintended consequences of College Rankings?•  How has methodology influenced marketing strategies of colleges and universities?•  How do colleges and universities market results of US News and other rankings?•  How do we counsel families on the use of rankings in our process? www.nacacnet.org/USNews
  22. 22. B215:The Findings of NACACs U.S. News & WorldReport Advisory CommitteeNational Issues and External Influences in AdmissionRobert Morse, U.S. News and World Report, DCMembers of NACACs U.S. News and World Report Advisory Committee
  23. 23. Members of NACACs U.S. News & World Report Advisory Committee•  Peter Caruso, Chair, Boston College, MA•  Bruce Chamberlain, Georgetown University, DC•  Rafael S. Figueroa, Albuquerque Academy, NM•  Pam Horne, Purdue University, IN•  Irene Logan, Virginia State University•  Lee Melvin, University of Connecticut•  Joseph Prieto, Hinsdale Central High School, IL•  Kris Getting Roach, University of St. Thomas, MN•  Michael Sexton, Santa Clara University, CA
  24. 24. Survey Respondents2,649 respondentsCollege 1176High School 1157Independent Counselor 135Organization 84Other 97
  25. 25. Overarching Themes•  Methodology Matters•  Distorting Effects and Professional Practice•  Taking the Next Step
  26. 26. Committee’s Recommendations For NACAC•  Develop professional education resources for members about rankings.•  Work with education publishers and data outlets to encourage development of do-it-yourself lists for consumers.
  27. 27. Committee’s Recommendations For Rankings Publications•  Remove the “class rank” and “standardized testing” metrics from rankings methodologies in favor of factors that measure student satisfaction and engagement.•  Reduce the weight of the reputational survey.•  Encourage emphasis on fit through customized rankings.•  Continue to evolve rankings methodologies through the association’s communication channels.
  28. 28. For More Information•  http://www.nacacnet.org/AboutNACAC/Governance/Comm/Pages/ NACACUSNewsAdHocCommittee.aspx