10 September 2005

more rankings

swarthmore is all the way down at #21 in the new washington monthly college rankings, which purport to measure schools based on quality of research, service to community, and the extent to which schools work as "engines of social mobility."

...yeah, and penn is ranked among the top five universities in the country on those bases? i haven't had time to check out details on weighting and methodology, but the rankings do seem a tad odd. there are several oddities that are clear even from the rather cursory methodological overview available: for one thing, why measure numbers of low-income students based solely on the percentage of pell grant kids? there's better information out there (like, for example, percentages of students from each income quintile). there's also the fact that financial aid data are not taken into account, and the fact that outperforming a graduation rate predicted solely by pell grant percentages is likely to indicate many things that are not the school's commitment to its low-income students. for example: at a school with a relatively low pell grant rate, you could easily raise your graduation numbers by diverting resources *away* from those kids.

also: what the fuck is the deal with measuring "research" by "science and technology" ph.d.'s? right, folks, because science and not policy studies will surely save us from the next katrina.

and last but not least: holy hell! "service" means ROTC and the peace corps and paid "service" jobs? no wonder swarthmore got screwed!