How America's Colleges Compare Internationally

Ashley Thorne

Americans tend to see U.S. colleges and universities through rose-colored glasses while bemoaning the state of our schools. Kevin Carey writes that higher education isn't doing any better than elementary - and may even be worse.

Overinvesting in Higher Ed

Richard Vedder

Should nearly everyone go to college? No, says Richard Vedder.

Sorry, Governor -- That Won't Help

George Leef

Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas wants to see the his state’s universities improve in the U.S. News rankings. 

Admissions Insanity

John C. Chalberg

Historian John C. Chalberg reviews Andrew Ferguson's Crazy U, and concludes that the title has some merit.

Reaching for the STARS

Ashley Thorne

Sustainability assessment on campus says a lot about the larger movement's need to count points.

Potemkin Admissions: Law Professors Propose to Hide LSAT Data

George W. Dent

A movement is afoot to persuade law schools to withhold LSAT scores from U.S. News and World Report. The idea is to make it harder for the public to see how much the pursuit of racial preferences drags down the quality of admissions.

Higher Education And The Great Chain of Being

Mitchell Langbert

In the twentieth century, psychologists who studied  human resource management  realized that employment tests were the best way to select  job applicants.  Tests need to be verified or "validated," though. Much of the personnel psychology literature is devoted to the study of whether one test or another is valid for various purposes.  One finding  is that IQ tests work.  They explain a fourth of the variance in job performance. Despite the efficacy of employment testing it seems likely that the chief method of allocating human resources in the United States is the college or university attended. Graduates of prestigious institutions obtain jobs in high-end Wall Street, advertising and consulting firms.  Other college graduates get good jobs in corporations and government. Non-graduates often do not. Baccalaureate institution attended is accepted by all as a human resource allocation method.  But it lacks validation. Having recently been exposed to medieval history I learned a concept prevalent in the medieval world that seems to explain the fixation on college rankings--"the great chain of being". In medieval times, it was believed that the social hierarchy reflected the celestial hierarchy. The king was like God, the nobles like angels, etc. The interest in ranking colleges and universities and using them to allocate human resources is atavistic.   The twentieth century rejected the nineteenth century's individualism in favor of medieval institutions.  The idea that higher education is first and foremost a liberal and learning experience seems to have been sacrificed in the interest of the great chain of being.

Outranked

Peter Wood

Why do American universities dominate the worldwide rankings for top research institutions? And why are European academics so worried about it?

40 Awkward Questions for College Tours

Peter Wood

You choose: either play the role of an