SAT/ACT Scores and College Rankings in the US News
Currently, there are a lot of news items in our news that are related to SAT/ACT scores and the rankings of colleges. They have been affecting institutional decision-making and have been changing the way colleges are ranked. These include the bias and reliability scores that are used.
SAT/ACT scores in US news are one of the most important factors for colleges to consider when assessing your college readiness. The score makes up 5 percent of an institution’s overall ranking. But this percentage is changing, and critics of the rankings are excited about the latest changes.
The ACT and SAT are standardized tests that students take in high school. The ACT is a two-hour test consisting of a science, English, and math section. The SAT is a three-hour test with an optional writing portion. The writing portion costs an additional $25. The SAT is an exam that tests reading comprehension and writing skills.
A group of higher education experts published an open letter urging U.S. News & World Report to drop SAT scores. They said the rankings are damaging to students and colleges. They are also racially and socioeconomic inequitable. They say the rankings push colleges to close doors to low-income students.
The group said they have been raising concerns about standardized admissions tests since the SAT and ACT began in 1999. The group’s Higher Education Team has been a force behind the call to drop scores.
The group said that standardized admissions tests disadvantage students of color. They say that low-income students tend to not take the test more than once, and they are less likely to use a private tutor.
The group also noted that wealthier students perform better on the tests. They say that many other factors affect college admissions, including the number of years a student attends school, their GPA, and their letters of recommendation.
Many colleges went test-optional when a coronavirus pandemic hit high schools. Students took advantage of the relaxed testing policies.
Despite the controversy surrounding its ranking methodology, US News’s college ranking is still a staple of the higher education landscape. US News published a new version of their college ranking in 2019 and moved five universities from their coveted ranked category to the unranked category.
In their quest for the perfect ranking, US News relied on school data. It also analyzed other data from third-party sources to get a better picture of the schools’ performance. It also changed its methodology to account for the influx of test-optional policies, coronaviruses, and the ACT’s increasing weight in the algorithm.
They incorporated the data on a factor-by-factor basis. They also contacted select schools to ensure that they had provided accurate data. Some schools did not respond to their inquiry, and others had data that was not published. They made updates to more than 100 indicator values to improve their ranking algorithm.
US News did not include the best possible ranking for the following reasons. They also did not consider schools with low ACT/SAT scores in their calculations. They also did not measure the most important aspect of the ranking – a school’s graduation rate. In a related development, US News moved five universities to the unranked category, including the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, the University of Oklahoma, and Johnson & Wales University.
In all, US News’s ranking methodology is no doubt worthy of a closer look. The ranking system is a public sphere, and the ranking systems that US News publishes are no exception. However, there is still room for improvement. For example, US News should have included the best possible ranking for Dillard University, a historically Black university in New Orleans.
Depending on the political persuasion of the survey respondent, different media outlets are perceived as the best and most biased. Among the dozens of media outlets surveyed, a few stand out from the crowd.
The Wall Street Journal is the most cited, while the Associated Press and PBS News are the least. The Associated Press is probably not a surprise given its extensive coverage of the US government, while PBS is a better bet given its more liberal lean. The AP also received a high bias score, earning a -35 score from the conservative crowd, while the PBS News Channel earned an -87 score from the Democrats.
The Web of Science is an online research portal that covers more than 21,100 scholarly journals and thousands of books on a variety of subjects, including social sciences, art, science, and more. It also contains a plethora of information, including the best websites to watch for news and entertainment.
The AllSides Media Bias Rankings is a fun little exercise in comparing a few news outlets against one another. They cover a range of media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, PBS, Fox News, The Washington Post, and the Associated Press. It also uses a z-score system to standardize different types of data, including the number of news articles, news ad exposure, news coverage, and the total number of news articles.
While a survey of news outlets in the US is not the same as comparing apples to oranges, the above data indicate that the news industry is still divided by the political divide. The most obvious bias is the right-leaning bias, with the conservative side favoring the Washington Post, the liberal side favoring Fox News, and the left-leaning side favoring the Associated Press.
Rankings have shaped institutional decision-making
Using rankings as a tool to benchmark universities has become increasingly popular. However, rankings aren’t the only factor in an institution’s reputation. Rankings are also useful for comparing performance and highlighting the return on investment.
Rankings influence policymakers, students, investors, and other stakeholders. Some governments use rankings to fund world-class institutions. Rankings also affect the decision-making processes of universities. The research of Ellen Hazelkorn, a global rankings researcher, found that universities commonly adapted their strategies after receiving a ranking.
One example of this is the Carnegie Classification. To receive a Carnegie classification, schools must meet a set of criteria. They must be regionally accredited and enroll full-time bachelor degree-seeking students. The schools that received a Carnegie classification must also graduate these students within six years.
Another type of selectivity is geography. A school may receive a ranking if it is located in a particular country. However, if the school is located in a highly specialized field, it may not be included in the rankings calculations.
Other rankings use factors like Nobel prize-winning alumni. Rankings also link credentials to salary and career opportunity. They can also attract mobile capital. However, there are also concerns about algorithm bias.
Rankings are used by universities, governments, businesses, and investors. Some rankings are more influential than others. Rankings can also be linked to a student’s lifestyle. Some rankings focus on research and research output, while others focus on reputation.
Rankings are a great way to evaluate performance and prestige. However, the rankings themselves do not measure equity. Often, the most popular rankings are those that focus on research-oriented institutions. However, rankings also can be used to evaluate the quality of an institution’s underserved communities.
Reed College refused to cooperate with us regarding news
Having declined to cooperate with U.S. News rankings in the past, Reed College is now in the enviable position of having a better score than its rivals. This has had a dramatic impact on the school’s application numbers, increasing by 27 percent over the last ten years.
The college is no longer submitting data to U.S. News, but the rankings that the school provides still make an appearance in the rankings. This is a small change that will have little impact on the college, but it will likely strengthen the school’s negotiating hand.
Another small change is that the college has decided that advertising is not worth the ethical price. In other words, Reed College will not pay for ads in the newspaper. It is not clear whether other undergraduate colleges have followed in their footsteps.
One of the more significant changes to the university was a raise for Clea Taylor, the assistant vice president of residence life. Her pay jumped from $34,000 to $40,000, and her work review said that she was a valued member of the Student & Campus Life Team. Taylor was also promoted to the position of co-director of residence life in 2020.
Another small change was that Reed College stopped sending data to U.S. News, a decision that was a long time coming. The school has also been accused of making a minor gaffe by not providing data for an obnoxious reputational survey.
Reed College’s decision to forgo rankings has had a small but measurable impact on the school’s numbers. However, the school has yet to hear from other colleges that plan to take similar steps. This means that it has been able to set its academic policy, and it can choose to appoint talented young teacher-scholars while still finishing dissertations.