Ranking Colleges, Can It Be Unbiased?

1335 Words Jun 20th, 2018 6 Pages
The article on “Rank Colleges, But Rank Them Right" has several strong points, one of which is the need for rankings motivated by the increasing demand by students and their parents for credible ranking data. The author, David Leonhardt, effectively appeals to the reader via three avenues: ethos, logos, and pathos. As a columnist, as well as managing editor for the New York Times, Leonhardt is plain spoken and analytical in his data laced commentary on ranking colleges. Included in his summary, lending credibility to the value of and need for rankings are in the following statements: "Today the United States ranks ninth among industrialized nations in higher education attainment...;" America used to be considered to be “the most …show more content…
The author points this out in a statement made by Richard R. Beeman, a historian and former dean at the University of Pennsylvania, “The very idea that universities with very different institutional cultures and program priorities can be compared, and that the resulting ranking can be useful to students, is highly problematic.” One of Leonhard’s weak ethos claims regarding the credibility of rankings emerges in his stating, "Measuring how well students learn is incredibly difficult, but there are some worthy efforts being made.” However, the citing he makes of researchers at Indiana Universities further clouds the objectivity needed for unbiased ranking, because students are asked “how they spend their time and how engaged they are in their education, while another group is measuring whether students become better writes and problem solvers during their college years.” Here Leonhardt artistically uses persuasion and logical reasoning to point out that the measuring tools are subjective, hardly noteworthy of credible rankings for colleges.

The author convincingly argues the need for more accurate rankings for universities in this statement “that can’t rest on a brand name (i.e., his alma mater, Yale). The ones that did well would be rewarded with applications from just the sort of students universities supposedly want --- ones who are willing to keep an open mind and be persuaded by evidence.” U.S. News and World Report have reported rankings since the