Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Colorado College President (And Former UC-Irvine Law Dean) Song Richardson Withdraws From U.S. News Rankings

Wall Street Journal, Colorado College Withdraws From U.S. News & World Report Undergrad Ranking:

Colorado CollegeColorado College will no longer cooperate with U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the nation’s best colleges, making it the highest-ranked college to pull out of the undergraduate rankings in decades.

“We have a very strong vision for where we want to go in the future. Those metrics that U.S. News measures are just inconsistent with who we are,” said Colorado College President L. Song Richardson. The school has consistently ranked among the nation’s top 30 liberal-arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report’s measure, landing at No. 27 on the latest list.

Colorado’s withdrawal follows a string of defections by top-ranked law and medical schools since November, signaling that dissatisfaction with the rankings’ methodology and power is continuing to spread.

U.S. News has said it would continue to rank schools even if they don’t provide survey responses, relying instead on publicly available information.

Ms. Richardson said U.S. News’ practice of looking at admitted students’ rank in their high-school class goes against Colorado College’s focus on creative students who may not have the highest grades. The peer academic-reputation survey that counts for 20% of the total ranking is little more than a beauty contest that some presidents try to game by currying favor with others who cast votes or by giving competitors low marks to boost themselves, she said.

She also said that while U.S. News & World Report had a noble intention by taking into account graduates’ debt loads, the ranking created a perverse incentive for schools to admit a wealthier group of students who wouldn’t need to borrow money to attend.

“Those metrics are about wealth and privilege, and we are about access, mobility, opportunity and transformation,” Ms. Richardson said. ...

Some administrators point to Reed College in Portland, Ore., as a cautionary tale. That school said in 1995 that it would no longer cooperate with U.S. News rankings after a Wall Street Journal article detailed the ways many schools manipulated their numbers. After pulling out, Reed fell into the bottom tier of liberal-arts colleges. It has since moved back up, to No. 72 last year.

Law School Rankings, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink