This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 15, 2008 5:46 AM. The previous post in this blog was Vote against the bloody shirt. The next post in this blog is This pair is a losing hand. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How sick it's gotten

The crazy world of higher education, in which the U.S. News and World Reports school rankings have become for many the be-all and end-all for measuring college and university achievement, has reached a new level of insanity. Now Baylor is paying students whom they've already admitted to retake the college boards in hopes that they can raise their scores -- for the sole purpose of helping the university move up in the magazine's infernal rankings.

Comments (6)

This is a great example of the often-seen result from the idiocy repeated in numerous management guru guides: "You get what you measure:"

" . . . And to hell with everything else."

When I'm driving in my car
And the deans texting on the scroll
About testing me more and more
On some useless information
Supposed to improve his reputation
I can't get no, oh no, no, no
Hey, hey, hey that's what I say

I can't get no, SATisfaction

To be fair, they are also giving out scholarships based on SATs as well, potentially in violation of the NACAC best practices.

I don't see how this is surprising; I'm glad that schools are doing this out in the open. Our entire educational system is designed around a series of tests (NCLB, PSAT, SAT, LSAT, GRE, GMAT, et al.) and now we are surprised that schools care about these tests?

A very bright friend of mine is getting ready to apply to a graduate history program. So, of course, she's been spending the last month studying the GRE. Schools don't care about her prior work, experience or motivations; schools care about her test scores.

Education has been reduced to a commodity which must be reduced to basic numbers for comparison and trade, whether its test scores, gpa, class rank, school rank, or any other individual or composite number. We no longer care if students are learning; rather, we care if they are testing well.

Thankfully Reed College continues to refuse to participate in the rankings game. As a result, their national ranking has dropped significantly, but that has not seemed to hurt the school's overall reputation or application pool. There are so many great colleges and universities out there, students should start focusing on deciding which school is the best match and not which school has the best ranking. You can get a great education anywhere, if you put the time and effort in.

If more schools would think independently and intelligently instead of being enslaved to an artificial ranking system created to sell magazines we might actually have a collection of law schools who think outside the box..creative in their education around the core competencies.

But I suppose that would be too much to ask. Instead they use their creativity to mislead students and contrive ways to move up this artificial list. What would happen if the magazine fails in the economic crisis? What would law schools do then? Mill around in circles staring stupidly at their business plans?

It's tough to be led by a ring in your nose.

It's not just law schools. Just about all of higher education is now sucked into this.

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