Saturday, April 07, 2007

P.S. Of Special Interest To Highschool Juniors and their Parents

Posted by olvlzl.
Looking at my notes, Lani Guinier also pointed out that in their rankings of colleges and universities, U.S. News And World Report plays a rather malignant role in maintaining the present, testing-based admissions system. They make up figures which would seem to purposely downgrade universities that refuse to use standardized testing as a criterion for admissions or to comply with U.S. New’s mercurial requirements. Their excuse is that any school which would refuse to report the scores of those admitted must be hiding low scores. Why a right-wing magazine is allowed to play any role in determining the status of colleges and universities is a very interesting question in itself. I think the reporting of baseless rankings, alone, should be enough to destroy the pretended journalistic credibility of any publications that report faux-facts have managed to invent for themselves.

A few schools have tried to opt out of the list. When Reed College stopped complying in 1995, the magazine assigned the lowest possible value to the missing statistics; in one year, Reed fell from the second quartile to the fourth. (Since then, the iconoclastic school has suffered no shortage of qualified applicants.) U.S. News now plugs in whatever data it can find for nonparticipants. "They won't let you quit," Drew president Weisbuch says of the magazine's data collectors. "I would spell it U.S. N-O-O-S-E."

Also in last weeks Washington Post:

But this principled decision has put us [Sarah Lawrence College] in jeopardy. I was recently informed by the director of data research at U.S. News, the person at the magazine who has a lot to say about how the rankings are computed, that absent students' SAT scores, the magazine will calculate the college's ranking by assuming an arbitrary average SAT score of one standard deviation (roughly 200 points) below the average score of our peer group.

In other words, in the absence of real data, they will make up a number. He made clear to me that he believes that schools that do not use SAT scores in their admission process are admitting less capable students and therefore should lose points on their selectivity index. Our experience, of course, tells us otherwise.

I will go out on a limb and predict that as more schools revolt against the highly lucrative standardized testing industry, which has benefitted so much under the Bush regime, they will be punished by the corporate media for their refusal to submit.