Home U.S.Education Columbia University Drops From No. 2 to No. 18 in U.S. News Rankings

Columbia University Drops From No. 2 to No. 18 in U.S. News Rankings

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US News & World Report likes to say that it offers a consumer service when it releases its annual university rankings. But on Monday, those ratings were again questioned after the magazine demoted Columbia University from second to 18th place on its latest annual list.

This drop is easily made because the highly influential rankings, which have been criticized for having a huge impact on parents and college admissions, rely heavily on data submitted by the colleges that directly benefit from them. suggests that it can be manipulated.

Columbia University’s second-place status came after Michael Thaddeus, one of the university’s mathematics professors, accused the university of submitting “inaccurate, questionable, or highly misleading” statistics in a February blog post. was not questioned until it was condemned. Last week, the university said in a statement that it miscalculated some data.

The public humiliation of Columbia University has left many parents and educational policy makers questioning. Can college quality be ranked by her single number the way critics rate movies with stars, and students go to college based on what has become a proxy for fame? Which location should I choose?

Dr. Thaddeus said he would not draw any conclusions about the quality of education at Columbia University, whether it ranks second or 18th.

“The broader lesson that everyone should keep in mind is that US News has shown its operations to be so shoddy that neither is pointless,” Dr. Thaddeus said. If an institution slips from 2nd to 18th place in a year, it just discredites the entire ranking operation.”

US News, which has been rating colleges and universities since 1983, said that given the cost and importance of education, it is more important than ever for parents and students to have some guide to quality schools. I’m here.

“For most of these students and their families, going to college is the most important investment, other than buying a home,” US News CEO Eric Gertler said in a statement.

Some experts argue that numerical ranking systems provide a simple measure of satisfaction, but that they exaggerate the differences between schools, whether they are strong in a particular field, whether they have good support systems and extracurricular activities. I say obscure more subtle considerations, such as whether. And, they say, this ranking encourages students to apply to the list of similar schools regardless of their own personal interests.

“I see no reason why a student who attends a rank 60 school should risk his life versus a student who attends a rank 50 school.

However, students often think they can step in life, increasing their chances of upward mobility, or at least a satisfying career, a solid income, and a sense of accomplishment from getting an education. I am applying to a school that has

The business’s fixation on status, which maintains not only US News, but college ranking organizations such as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Washington Monthly, may be exaggerated, but it’s not unreasonable. A rare school not participating in the ranking, and the former dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School that does.

“It’s based on the not-unreasonable premise that you’re not only more likely to get a job, but you’re more likely to be noticed, and more likely to have good connections.” In America, pedigree is given little by little by family, but mostly by education.”

Regarding the school itself, he said: Publicly, they said, ‘We love this ranking system. It’s anti-intellectual,’ but in fact, we tend to brag about it when we rank up. ”

Diver argued that even considering the 17 criteria and sub-criteria used by US News, including reputation (20%), the school was too complex to properly reduce to a single number. Student selectivity (7%, of which SAT and ACT scores are weighted at 5%). Debt held by graduates (5%).

U.S. News’ Gertler said the ranking is “an excellent and objective way to ensure that high school students and their families make informed decisions about college and that institutions themselves hold themselves accountable for their education. I tried to be a resource,” he countered. and the experiences they offer to students. ”

Many critics of rankings are particularly troubled by peer reviews, surveys of school reputations sent to presidents and deans. They argue that no one knows enough about hundreds of institutions to accurately rank their reputations. This survey accounts for 20% of the US News score.

But Diver said the school continues to cooperate with the rankings. Diver said he fears that otherwise, US News will end up using data from other sources.

Gunja recalled that the Obama administration created a college scorecard to compare colleges. “While it does not display rankings, it does provide important information about post-graduation salaries, graduation rates, areas of study and demographic information,” he said.

“U.S. News is trying to squeeze all this into one number, and I get it. Families are looking for some help here, but I don’t think that’s the answer,” he said. rice field. He said scorecards are becoming more and more popular among guidance counselors.

Columbia University’s downfall began in February, when Dr. Thaddeus questioned the accuracy of the university’s data and said he found discrepancies when compared to publicly available sources.

But on Monday, US News released its rankings for 2022-23, with Colombia rejoining the list at number 18.

Columbia’s new rank was calculated based on data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, a peer-reviewed survey conducted by U.S. News, and the government’s College Scorecard, according to a statement. If so, US News said it “assigned a competitive set point.”

According to Robert Morse, chief data strategist at US News, the formula used to calculate the assigned value generally assigns a lower than average score for that metric. Dr. Thaddeus said these values ​​look like “a slightly more polite way of saying these numbers out of thin air.”

The new ranking places Princeton at number one, MIT at number two, and Harvard, Yale, and Stanford at number three.Last year, Columbia was her second, behind Princeton, alongside Harvard and MIT.

US News regularly publishes discrepancies in data submitted by universities. Consequences of misreporting are usually delisted, but sometimes more severe.

Last year, the former dean of Temple University’s business school was found guilty of using fraudulent data to improve the school’s rankings between 2014 and 2018. At the time, the school’s online MBA program was ranked among the best in the country.

This year, the University of Southern California dropped the institution from its rankings for inaccuracies going back five years.

But Columbia, an Ivy League institution, is perhaps the most prestigious university in recent memory to be accused of providing inaccurate data.

On Friday, just before the new rankings were released, Columbia admitted to submitting “outdated” or “wrong” data on two metrics that go into the rankings: class size and number of faculty members with the highest degrees. I was. field.

Columbia said the error was, at least in part, a result of the “complexity” of the reporting requirements.

“We deeply regret the shortcomings in our reporting to date and will work to improve,” Columbia University Vice President Mary Boyce said in a statement.

In last year’s rankings, Colombia claimed about 83% of its classes had fewer than 20 students. On Friday, Columbia University said it will have fewer than 20 students enrolled in her 57% of undergraduate classes in the fall of 2021.

Last year, Columbia University said 100% of its full-time faculty had a “final degree,” best in their field. On Friday, Columbia corrected that to around 95%.

But as if to prove the strength of the US News rankings, many schools sent jubilant emails on Monday praising their ratings. Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, announced that it moved up six spots to No. 6 in the Midwest section of the rankings. The University of California system also sent out a news release celebrating six campuses being the nation’s top public universities.

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