News and World Report's college ranking method has changed since the first issue,
but the attention it has received and the magazine's place in the college selection
process has only grown.
To many, the college ranking edition of U.S. News
and World Report is known as the "Swimsuit Issue," with about 2.3 million
At a recent seminar on the campus of the University of Wisconsin
Madison the director of data research at U.S. News and World Report's ranking
issue, Robert Morse, responded to comments made about its methods and consequences.
defended the attacks of educators who say the rankings are an insufficient measure
of a university's real character, saying that the rankings perform a valuable
service to students.
"Our measures are measures of academic quality,"
he said, according to the Madison State Journal.
The University of Wisconsin's
admission director Robert Seltzer agreed that the rankings could be a good tool.
He said, however, that there was too much emphasis on their importance.
are students who really do think there's a difference between No. 12 and No. 15,"
Paul Boyer, author of "College Rankings Exposed,"
said that the annual U.S. News survey and other ranking guides have transformed
choosing a college into a ratings game.
He said colleges are forced to spend
money on "superficial changes" that will raise their rating, at the
expense of real innovation in the undergraduate classroom.
some universities concentrate on raising money and being more "selective"
to increase their rankings.
"It's damaging at many levels and keeps
getting worse every year," Boyer said.