…measures fall into seven broad categories: peer assessment; graduation and retention rate; faculty resources (for example, class size); student selectivity (for example, average admission test scores of incoming students); financial resources; alumni giving; and, only for national universities and liberal arts colleges, graduation rate performance. The indicators include both input measures, which reflect the quality of students, faculty, and other resources used in education, and outcome measures, which capture the results of the education an individual receives.
The Washington Monthly College Guide was also released recently. Washington Monthly’s criteria:
The first question we asked was, what does America need from its universities? From this starting point, we came up with three central criteria: Universities should be engines of social mobility, they should produce the academic minds and scientific research that advance knowledge and drive economic growth; and they should inculcate and encourage an ethic of service.
Truly, an amazing example of the difference that proceeding from different sets of assumptions & using different criteria makes. The two lists of top schools makes for interesting reading. Interestingly, UNC-CH’s rank is pretty consistent, according to both schemes: 27th according to US News, 25th according to Washington Monthly.