28 August 2017

The US News rankings, America’s Best Colleges, has had a dominant role in admissions to US colleges and universities for many years. It has, however, come under severe criticism from academics and the media.

The Chicago Tribune, for example, has published an article by two Northwestern University professors, Gary Saul Morson and Morton Schapiro, that discusses the rankings and how they could be manipulated.

The authors note that the newspaper frequently sanctions universities for submitting incorrect or inaccurate data but suggests that there are still several ways in which misleading data might be collected and submitted.

These include inflating the number of applications for admissions which will result in a lower admission rate and make colleges appear to be more selective, manipulating test scores by not counting international students, athletes, development cases or delayed admissions. Some colleges are now “test optional”, meaning that students are not required to submit their scores for standardised tests such as the SAT or ACT, with the result that students with low scores are not counted when calculating a college’s average score.

The authors then draw attention to the reputational rankings based on the votes of university administrators explaining that they could use survey responses to reward friends and punish enemies. In addition, colleges might be able to manipulate graduation rates or the number of alumni sending gifts of money, both of which are indicators in the rankings.

Source:
Chicago Tribune

IREG Initiatives

With the fast development of science and technology, as well as the internationalization of scientific activities, international academic awards have been more and more popular and influential. Numerous international academic awards have been established to provide individuals with incentives and motivation for new academic work and to reward past excellent academic accomplishments.

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The purpose of the IREG Ranking Audit, conducted by independent experts, is to verify and attest that ranking under review is done professionally, with a transparent methodology, observes good practices and responds to a need for relevant information of various stakeholders, in particular students, higher education institutions, employers and policy makers.

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National and international academic rankings play ever increasing role as a barometer of quality of higher education institutions. The purpose of "IREG Inventory of National Rankings" is to collect and make available on the IREG Observatory website information on the current state and scope of this important group of rankings.

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The purpose of the IREG Guidelines for Stakeholders of Academic Rankings is to provide recommendations for appropriate interpretations, uses and applications of rankings by potential interested parties, including students and parents, institutions of higher education, policymakers, quality assurance and funding organizations, employers and the media. Specific recommendations have been formulated for each group of stakeholders.

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Dr. Jan Sadlak, President of IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence at the General Assembly held in Lisbon on 6 May 2016 presented a detailed report on activities of the organization, the President and members of the Executive Committee in the period: May 2015 – May 2016.

You may ready the report HERE.

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