US News and World Report vs Atlantic Monthly

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Discus: College Search and Selection: August 2004 Archive: US News and World Report vs Atlantic Monthly
By Caustic_Juggler (Caustic_Juggler) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 10:27 pm: Edit

What are your thoughts on the Atlantic Monthly ranking system? How does it compare to the US News and World Report one?

By Massdad (Massdad) on Saturday, July 31, 2004 - 10:58 pm: Edit

The authors of the Atlantic Monthly article have said repeatedly that they were just giving the rankings as an example, not proposing a new approach.

So, I would not even try to compare. Rather, I would read the collection of articles carefully to get another perspective on the game.

By Admissionsrep (Admissionsrep) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 12:16 am: Edit

I have been very surprised that Time and Newsweek have not gotten into the "College Rankings" game. The college ranking edition is such a money maker for USNWR. I know that Newsweek has their own version of a college issue, but we all know that people like rankings.

We also know how flawed the USNWR system is. Why not study their model and drop things like, the 25% that is allocated to what provosts, Presidents and Deans think about schools; many of whom they know nothing about.

Why not market their new issue as "the Improved College Rankings". Is ego keeping them from following a magazine, for which they view their magazine as better than? I don't know, but it's all about sales in that business and I don't see how they can't see that an improved ranking, and a new ranking system, would have great appeal.


By Drusba (Drusba) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 10:01 am: Edit

It is called copyright/intellectual property rights. US News has developed a rather elaborate system to do rankings. If Time/Newsweek created a competing system that looked anything like US News (but dropping or modifying some criteria), US NEWS would likely sue to prevent it and win. In other words for Time/Newsweek to get in on the game they have to come up with something that would be substantially different, which is hard because many of the criteria US News uses would be ones those others would naturally want to use.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 02:38 pm: Edit

I think that would be dicey on the part of US News.

There are already several sets of college rankings, top schools for X, etc. US News is merely the most well known and influential.

I suspect that if someone started with a fresh slate of criteria, they would keep things like selectivity and SAT scores, drop alumni giving et al., and find a different route to measuring "peer assessment" and they'd be find.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - 07:01 pm: Edit


Not so. USNWR can, and does, copyright their published material. A copyright is exactly what the term says, the right to copy or reproduce. They cannot copyright their methodology. They could try to patent their methodology (this would be similar to "business method patents) but I doubt the PTO would issue such a patent, as there is too much prior art.

USNWR rankings are based on the compilation and analysis of a lot of data. If someone else wanted to compile the same data, even repeat the same analysis, they can. They might run afoul if they then published results with a similar format, layout and look, but that's about it.

By Jeffreyafreeds (Jeffreyafreeds) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 02:34 pm: Edit

I like looking at schools based on selectivity. I thought Atlantic Monthly was interesting. Obviously US News is far more comprehensive and valuable. But I think both give a nice snapshot of the student body and the school itself.

That said, I think it's amazing the bias that US News perpetuates by putting 25% on peer assessment. Often it's the most prestigious professors that are the create the worst LEARNING environments. I went to Washington University and most classes that were taught by these so-called "great" professors, I found pedantic and not very challenging to what I think and my relationship to the coursework. I found it was the part-time professors and less well-known professors that literally changed my life. It's all about the quality of engagement of the students.

WHY ISN'T US NEWS TALKING TO THE STUDENTS? ASK US!!! Who better to be a judge of how much students are learning. I guess it would cause a bit too much havoc though...The elites might find some startling discoveries...

By Thedad (Thedad) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 03:54 pm: Edit

Talking to the students...

Which is why for all the imprecision and not-so-rigorous methodology, I find Princeton Review's THE BEST 351 or whatever this year's number is to be very useful.

By Collegeparent (Collegeparent) on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 10:11 am: Edit

Newsweek got into the game with Kaplan by releasing its "25 Hottest Colleges" edition a couple of weeks ago. The categories were eclectic, at best.

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