The Obama administration wants to produce new ratings that will allow prospective college students to identify institutions with high graduation rates, solid job placement records and generous student aid. But what if students just want to be happy?
“A study discussed in Insidehigher Ed today documents the statistically significant impact of several Princeton Review rankings of colleges on quality-of-life issues. A”t least according to the study, applicants may be be swayed not just by academics (or the qualities the Obama administration wants to highlight) but by rankings that indicate that students are happy, and think that their campus is beautiful.
“The quality-of-life ranking of the Princeton Review that receives by far the most press attention (party school), however, does not appear to have much of an impact on the applicant pool, with the exception of a decline in applications only evident among out-of-state students.
“Princeton Review rankings are fairly well known in admissions circles for their limitations. The rankings are based entirely on student surveys at their own institutions. So students are reacting to how they feel about student happiness, interaction with professors and the quality of food — without any basis for comparison to other institutions. No part of the ranking actually involves anyone comparing institutions. But the study being released today — being published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis — says that these rankings matter to prospective students. (The article abstract is available here.) Continue reading “Ranking schools by student happiness”
Unsatisfied by the college ratings generated by popular news magazines, the Obama administration expects to have a first draft of its college rating system by this spring, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said. As InsideHigherEd reports:
“After soliciting public input at town hall discussions and hearings at college campuses across the country this fall, the department will convene a “technical symposium” early next year to discuss ratings methodology before releasing a preliminary version for public comment at some point in the spring, Duncan said. The administration’s goal is to implement the ratings system in the 2014-15 academic year and eventually persuade Congress to link federal student aid funding to the ratings system.
“It is an ambitious timeframe,” Duncan conceded on a call with reporters on Wednesday, in which he again emphasized that the administration has not yet decided on the metrics that will make up the federal college rating system that the president proposed in August. “We’ve seen some articles [about] people who are already opposed to the ratings plan, which is a little bit funny to me because it literally doesn’t exist,” he said. Many college and university leaders — and the associations that represent them in Washington — have been skeptical, if not critical, of measuring student outcomes based on metrics such as earnings and graduation rates. Some have also decried the availability and quality of data needed to carry out a ratings system.
“Data is always imperfect and we will use the best data we have,” Duncan said, adding that the administration would produce new iterations of the metrics “as better data becomes available.” Education Department officials also said Wednesday that they planned to host, in collaboration with the White House, a “datapalooza” in the early spring that will bring together innovators and app designers to look at better ways to package and provide access to existing federal data on colleges and students, such as the government’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, known as IPEDS. Continue reading “Fed college rating system due in Spring”
With “binders full of women” still lingering in public memory, a New Yorks Times reporter made an uncomfortable observation about recent White House appointments.
Obama’s key advisors appear to be all male.
As January has unfolded, “Mr. Obama has put together a national security team dominated by men, with Senator John Kerry nominated to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton as the secretary of state, Chuck Hagel chosen to be the defense secretary and John O. Brennan nominated as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency,” reported the Times. Continue reading “Barry’s boys club”
Spying is all about predictions: about knowing what someone else can or will do next, about thinking how to win.
At least that is how governments tend to think about spying. In this context it makes sense that the Obama administration would spend some time prognosticating. Turns out they spend billions to satisfy their curiosity, as the U.S. and many other countries have done for decades. Asia Times carries a story today about this curious and expensive enterprise, which begins with the paragraphs below:
“Think of it as a simple formula: if you’ve been hired (and paid handsomely) to protect what is, you’re going to be congenitally ill-equipped to imagine what might be.And yet the urge not just to know the contours of the future but to plant the Stars and Stripes in that future has had the US Intelligence Community (IC) in its grip since the mid-1990s.
“That was the moment when it first occurred to some in Washington that US power might be capable of controlling just about everything worth the bother globally for, if not an eternity, then long enough to make the future American property. Continue reading “Intelligence community tries to predict what’s next”