University ranking ARE growing in influence. Is this a good thing? On one level it is important for overseas students especially to receive as much information as possible. Moreover, if employers use these rankings to rank applicants then is is increasingly important that students at least play the game whatever the merits or otherwise of haing a ranking of Universities.
Universities also need to understand the importance of rankings and are quickly learning how to play the game:
The report makes it clear why institutions take their results so seriously. Research by one research-intensive institution featured in the study found that 50 to 60 per cent of its intake had been influenced by league tables.
With percentages like that you can expect more creative accounting at the University level.
This excellent article breaks down each ranking to show which indicators are used and the relative weightings.
A measured relationship [THE]
League tables are used to gauge university performance, influence potential students and steer management policy, but should they be trusted? A survey suggests that many fall short of the mark, writes Rebecca Attwood
A nother day, another university league table hits the newspaper headlines. Perhaps you are sceptical about their worth - but nonetheless, a sudden drop in your institution's ranking can be demoralising and can feel like an unfair reflection of the institution and your work.
According to a major study into their impact published this week, university league tables have "serious methodological limitations" and yet are growing in influence.
A study commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England found that institutions shared many concerns about the validity of league tables but were nevertheless strongly influenced by rankings when it came to setting institutional strategy.
Researchers from the Centre for Higher Education Research and Information at The Open University and Hobsons Research dissected five major national and international rankings - The Sunday Times University Guide, The Times Good University Guide, The Guardian University Guide, Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities and the Times Higher Education/QS World University Rankings.
[All are covered and linked to it this blog]
Their findings highlight a lack of transparency about the way the league tables are compiled. Some measures, the researchers conclude, are "poor proxies" for the qualities that the tables are attempting to evaluate - many are determined by the data available rather than by clear concepts of excellence, and the methods for calculating scores can be questionable.
In many cases, compilers changed methodologies frequently. "It could be argued that league tables count what can be measured rather than measure what counts," and rankings reflect reputation more than quality or performance, the authors assert.