Each year, prospective college students and university officials eagerly await the publication of the latest college rankings. These rankings provide a quantifiable way to compare colleges, and--in the absence of reliable and publicly available indicators of student development and management effectiveness--are used by consumers and policymakers to make critical financial decisions. But rankings are not a perfect measurement of university performance. As the cost of college continues to soar, the time has come to ask whether the lack of an effective means to evaluate colleges has exaggerated the academic arms race.
Do rankings help or hinder intelligent decision-making by consumers and producers of higher education services? What additional information should colleges provide to permit better rankings and more informed consumer choices? Scholars, education leaders, and rankings experts will explore the history and practical implications of university performance assessment at this conference, cosponsored by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.
AEI adjunct scholar Richard Vedder will moderate.