(This post is largely an excuse to put up a blurry picture of my dog, Mort.)
Thomas Sowell, who always seems like one of those people who buys shit off of infomercials just so that he can scoff at your need for an actual mop or glue that requires as much as an hour to set, is back today to let us know that there’s a new way to choose a college for your son or daughter – having an AEI fellow generate absolute bullshit into a numerical list!
A new think tank in Washington is trying to shift the emphasis from inputs to outputs. The Center for College Affordability and Productivity is headed by Professor Richard Vedder, who gives the U.S. News rankings a grade of D. Measuring the inputs, he says, is “roughly equivalent to evaluating a chef based on the ingredients he or she uses.”
His approach is to “review the meal”— that is, the outcome of the education itself.
The CCAP study uses several measures of educational output, including the proportion of a college’s graduates who win awards like the Rhodes Scholarships or who end up listed in Who’s Who in America, as well as the ratings that students give the professors who teach them.
According to CCAP, they don’t even go that far:
Accordingly, we have developed a new CCAP ranking system based one-half on student attitudes towards the faculty who teach them, based on ratings of professors on the popular ratemyprofessors.com Web site, and one-half on the proportion of graduates who achieve a high level of vocational distinction by being included in the 2008 edition of Who’s Who in America.
Samples of Rate My Professors reviews: Professor Laura Stephens, University of Arizona:
I took this class with Laura over the summer and it was awesome. Extremely easy, just went to class, took notes and got an A. I did actually learn a lot and Laura is a really fun teacher. She can be flaky.. (ie. didn’t show up on test days, pushed tests off to later days & not even giving the test) but I never cared. Great class!
Professor Stephen Black, Reed College:
awkward, hilarious. sexy.
Professor Stephanie Donnelly, Loyola Marymount:
Best teacher ever!!!!! so funny,cute,interesting, fun and insitefl
This should be what you base 50% of your child’s future on.
The other half is Who’s Who which, despite it being Tucker Carlson, is pretty apt about the giant scam of it all. Who’s Who is largely an encyclopedia of people who just really want to be in a book and have the spare time to write up a bio for it. If the most direct measure of your post-graduate life’s work is a spot in Who’s Who, I highly recommend you go to your nearest dog shelter and adopt a dog, as it will be more rewarding and less likely to make you look like a total tool when you bring it into your office.
How do these rankings play out?
Among national universities, the top three are the same — but in different order: Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, according to Professor Vedder’s think tank; Princeton, Harvard, and Yale in the U.S. News rankings.
Among the liberal arts colleges, however, there were some big changes. Although Williams and Amherst were the top two in both rankings, Washington & Lee moved up from 15th to 6th when ranked by Professor Vedder’s group and Barnard climbed from 30th to 8th.
Whitman College, ranked 37th by U.S. News on the basis of the college’s inputs, jumped to 9th when evaluated on its output by Vedder and company. Wabash College jumped from 52nd to 10th. West Point rose from 22nd to 7th.
Amazingly, when you base your college rankings off of professor bonability and marketing schemes, schools can jump all over the place! Megan Fox was just named professor emeritus at Samford University, by the way – 2009’s top ranked university!