College and University Ranking System
College and University Rankings enlist higher education institutions which are categorized according to various different factors.. These factors not only help in covering the entire educational institutional ranking, but also specific programs, departments and schools. Rankings are usually conducted by magazines, newspapers, websites, governments and academics.
The purpose of these rankings is to provide prospective students and their parents with the information they need while choosing an educational institution.
Most of the rankings consider different measures to assess educational institutions, which include academic research, student choices, eventual success, demographics and surveys. Some rankings consider institutions within a single country while others evaluate institutions globally.
Some prominent national and global rankings include:
· Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities (SJT)
· World's Best Colleges and Universities (US News and World Report)
· Global University Rankings
· QS World University Rankings
· USNWR's World's Best Colleges and Universities
· Times Higher Education World University Rankings
· Leiden Rankings
Though popular nationally and worldwide, the ranking system is not held in high esteem by educational experts. Here are some of the problems that associate in ranking system.
- There are no objective measures
o The measurements are rarely direct but consist of proxies. For example, on teaching methods of a college, there is no robust data available on which a global comparison could be made. Some ranking tables rely on a set of proxies like the number of PhDs awarded per year or the number of undergraduate or graduates admitted per academic. None of these measures say anything about the quality of teaching at the college being evaluated.
o The choice of indictors and weightings reflect the priorities or preferences of the rankers.
- Rankings cannot be a reliable measure to assess an institution because
o Each ranking system cannot be directly comparable to each other because they measure on different factors.
o The reputation and credibility of any higher education institution are based on its strengths and weaknesses across various departments and activities. Excellence of an institution can be defined in a diverse way depending upon different types of indicators or weightings. By combining the score across various indicators, ranking system reduce the complexity of higher education to a single digit score while exaggerating differences.
o Rankings only measure what is easy, obvious and predictable. Most of these rankings are based on a single definition of quality when higher education institutions, with their mission and goals are diversifying. For example, most of these rankings focus on intensive research while other important factors like teaching quality, community engagement, innovative learning methods and social impact are neglected.
o They usually focus on past performance of an institution rather than its potential performance.
o Rankings provide benefits to large and long-established institutions which have more researchers and hence create more output. This system makes it impossible for the educational institutions in developing countries to compete with the big players in the United States and Europe.
Despite all these loopholes of the ranking systems, countries such as China, India, Japan and Korea are looking to build their own world-class universities which could be included in the world ranking system. Rankings can help improvise the higher education scenario which will encourage different educational institutions to improve the quality of their education while providing world-class facilities for students and faculty. However, rather than focusing on a small number of elite universities, the goal of these rankings should be to build a world-class higher education system and standardizing education. Rather than aiming to be included in the top ranking lists. Governments should also focus on building diverse range of universities with world-class expertise to attract young and motivated students and high-skilled labour.