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Rankings galore

While the French Senate has shown itself determined to launch an European university ranking system, as an alternative to the famous Shanghai rankings (for background details please refer to the July edition of ACA Newsletter – Education Europe), US universities and colleges seem to have started a rebellion against the most American ranking of all - the one by the US News & World Report.

Since 1983, the US News & World Report has published its annual ranking of American universities and degree-granting colleges. The greatest surprise for this year’s ranking was that more higher education institutions than ever before refused to participate in the survey, the participation rate dropping to 46 percent (as opposed to 58% in 2006 and 51% in 2007). The reasons behind this decline in participation are manifold and range from claims that neither of the indicators used measure the quality of education, to the general “survey fatigue” and the preoccupation of the institutions with the demands and financial implications of the new higher education legislation passed by the Congress.

Within this context and as the information on the reputation of American higher education institutions has been somewhat monopolised within the US by the US News & World Report, Forbes announces its alternative: America’s Best Colleges 2008, comprising 569 undergraduate institutions. On the same note, Boeing publicly stated its intention to rank colleges by measuring graduates’ job success.

American college and university rankings seem to flourish.

US News & World Report