US News changes methodology for annual college rankings

August 17, 2010

Yesterday US News & World Report released its Best Colleges 2011 rankings. Harvard University remains on top, breaking free from last year's tie with Princeton University, which fell to second. US News tweaked its methodology this year, lowering the weight for its much-criticized "academic reputation" measure from 25% to 22.5% (for national universities and liberal-arts colleges only). Ratings by surveyed high-school counsellors accounted for a third of this measure, while ratings by college administrators made up the remainder. US News gave the extra 2.5 percentage points to the "graduation rate performance" measure. The magazine might add "yield" back into the rankings, a measure removed in 2003 amid criticisms the rankings had driven institutions to become obsessed with yield. US News & World Report | Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)