18 September 2017
An article by Jonathon Wai in The Conversation asks what is really measured by university rankings. The article focuses on America’s Best Colleges, published by US News, and the indicators that use scores in the SAT or ACT, standardised tests taken by applicants to most American colleges. His discussion is based on a paper in the Journal of Intelligence that he co-authored with Matt I. Brown and Christopher F. Chabris.
They have analysed the 25th and 75th SAT and ACT math and verbal percentile scores of colleges and universities ranked in the 2014 edition of Americas Best Colleges. They argue that these tests are a reasonable measure of students’ academic ability.
It was found that ranking institutions by test scores produces results that are similar to the overall US News rankings, the rankings of the Times Higher Education (THE)/Wall Street Journal US College Rankings, and the THE World University Rankings.
There were also high correlations between the test score rankings and a ranking of institutions by revealed student preferences.
These are the top ten US universities according to average SAT scores:
- California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
- University of Chicago
- Princeton University
- Harvard University
- Yale University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- Columbia university
- Harvey Mudd College
- Stanford University
- Northwestern University.