My previous post, Colleges Don't Like Being Graded, has generated some good comments from two individuals I highly respect, Stephen Downes and John Hunter. Here are some additional comments about the conflict between the Annapolis Group of College and US News & World Report.
- The Annapolis Group desires to use a ranking system developed and run by Academia. It is difficult (not impossible) to run a self-ranking / grading system and be truly objective.
- US News can provide a benchmark for helping families select schools to visit. For example, my family first became aware of Wartburg College via their US News & World Report's positive rankings. Thus, while driving home to Minnesota after a visit to Valparaiso University in Indiana, my middle child and I decided to route through Iowa and see Wartburg (link to their admissions page ... with rankings). Carl now attends Wartburg. Everyone in the family is happy with the Wartburg choice, but most importantly Carl! In my case, I feel the US News rankings were accurate.
As we head into the home stretch this Fall with my youngest child's follow-up college visits, here are the schools we have chosen ... and a few of the reasons why they are on the final list. In Erik's case, all the schools had to have good engineering programs (listed in alpha order):
- Michigan Tech University (location: Lake Superior and X-Country Skiing)
- Olin School of Engineering (email from an Olin student who read my blog)
- Purdue University (US News Ranking)
- Rose Holman Institute of Technology (US News Ranking)
- Valparaiso University (Christian School, US News Ranking)
- Worcester Polytechnic Institute (new robotics program)
Right now Erik's preference is towards the schools in this list whose highest degree is an engineering masters, but that could change!
Finally, we all use grades (see Wikipedia's rather long winded entry). You could get a "00" in Denmark, which would mean completely unacceptable performance. How many of us bloggers use grades? ... page hits, Technorati rankings, number of subscribers, recent readers, Google rankings for keywords, etc ...