Right fit

U.S. releases first look at rating plan for colleges. Education officials face complex task in gauging what constitutes success

Is there a formula based upon which colleges can be ranked? If not, can one be developed? President Obama and his administration are working towards creating one. RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA writes that the basis should be – accessibility, academic performance, affordability, graduates’ incomes etc. the ratings are – good, bad and somewhere between. However, they lack the data and resources to successfully be able to rank programs and this paucity often hampers their progress. 

Read an excerpt of the article written by  RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA :

In a report released on Friday, the Obama administration offered its first public glimpse of a planned system for rating how well colleges perform, saying it intended to group schools into just three broad categories — good, bad and somewhere between. In detailing what elements the system is likely to contain, the Department of Education also revealed how dauntingly complex the project has been, and how it continues to be hampered by the limitations of the data available. The department labeled what the Friday release calls a ‘‘draft framework,’’ much of it subject to change, with a lot of work still to be done before it produces a first version of an actual rating formula. Officials said that first system should become public before the start of the next school year, about eight months away, but even then, it will remain a work in progress, to be upgraded as problems arise and better data become available. Sixteen months ago, President Obama announced an ambitious system to assess each college on accessibility to lower-income students, affordability, students’ academic progress, and how well the students fare in finding good jobs and in paying off student loans. Those ratings could even be tied to the distribution of billions of dollars each year in federal aid, he said. Many critics of higher education have argued for a way of measuring and valuing what college students actually learn. ...Read more