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Monday, December 16, 2013

U.S. News Rankings: Overperforming and Underperforming Colleges

US NewsU.S. News & World Report, U.S. News Analysis Shows Universities Where Reputation, Rank Don't Match:

An analysis of the schools in the National Universities ranking category that are overperforming or underperforming their undergraduate academic reputations reveals that some flagship public universities may not be serving students as well as their reputations would suggest.

For the second year, U.S. News looked at numerically ranked colleges where the school's overall Best Colleges 2014 rank is better or worse than its peer assessment rank. This idea quantifies the degree to which a university's overall position in the rankings surpasses or lags its undergraduate academic reputation rank.

A school that does far better in the overall rankings than in the undergraduate academic reputation rankings – one that is overperforming – is doing better on a relative basis in the other key academic statistical indicators used in the rankings: admissions selectivity, financial and faculty resources, graduation and retention rates, alumni giving and graduation rate performance.

An overperforming school's undergraduate reputation among its academic peers has not kept pace with what it has achieved in the underlying academic indicators. This could be because academic reputation is a lagging indicator – it can take time for a school's academic peers to understand the real progress of a university.

Overperformers
Schools with an overall numerical rank in the 2014 Best National Universities rankings that is better than the school's academic peer assessment rank by the largest number of places are shown in the table below.

SchoolOverall RankPeer RankOverperformance
Maryville University of St. Louis 161 260 99
University of La Verne (CA) 161 246 85
St. John Fisher College (NY) 142 224 82
Andrews University (MI) 181 260 79
Biola University (CA) 177 254 77
Azusa Pacific University (CA) 173 246 73
Edgewood College (WI) 190 260 70
Stevens Inst. of Technology (NJ) 82 152 70
University of St. Thomas (MN) 112 182 70
Yeshiva University (NY) 47 117 70

Underperformers
Schools with an overall numerical rank in the 2014 Best National Universities rankings that is lower than the school's academic peer assessment rank by the largest number of places are shown in the table below.

SchoolOverall RankPeer RankUnderperformance
Arizona State University 142 71 -71
University of Arizona 119 51 -68
University of Montana 201 133 -68
University of Colorado—Denver 190 133 -57
Virginia Commonwealth University 167 117 -50
University of N. Carolina—Charlotte 201 152 -49
University of New Mexico 181 133 -48
University of Colorado—Boulder 86 40 -46
University of Oregon 109 65 -44
Oregon State University 142 101 -41

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Comments

Interesting that all the "underperformers" are public universities, while there are many privates amongst the "overperformers."

Posted by: JKP | Dec 16, 2013 12:38:50 PM

The biggest scam US News ever pulled was to get people to think that the peer assessment rank, or as I more accurately call it, the prestige-o-meter, had the slightest modicum of methodological, statistical, or even ethical soundness.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Dec 16, 2013 12:50:22 PM

The "overperforming," err overpriced (largely religious) schools must have appreciated this puff-piece that attempts to make them appear to be a good value by comparing them to a straw-man of a bunch of non-flagship schools (UNC-Charlotte? UAB? Arizona State? San Diego State?).

Posted by: Cent Rieker | Dec 16, 2013 8:04:20 PM

Since when did Oregon State have a law school? Maybe he means one of those other "O" states.

Posted by: billybobG | Dec 24, 2013 1:48:59 AM