Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Many "Rankings" for UWL, by Mikaela Kornoski

In regard to President Obama’s recently proposed scorecard system, Heidi Macpherson, vice chancellor for academic affairs at UW-L, said, “It may be useful for students who are seeking out universities and want to make comparisons, but with any score card, it only tells part of the story.”

Macpherson is reporting for the evaluations given by Higher Learning Commission , by which UW-L is currently accredited. HLC’s next visit to the campus will be in the 2015-2016 school year. The institutions are judged by their peers and a “quality initiative” of the school’s choice.

Macpherson said, “There are a number of different measurements out there, and different organisations that are collating information. What I can say is that generally, they use the same source data, but may interpret it in different ways.”

UW-L chose “Firm Footing” as its quality initiative for HLC. The program looks to increase student academic success by identifying populations that would be deemed “at risk.” Such populations may include first generation or transfer students.

There are many different ways that universities are graded and ranked. It is important to do research and expand one’s search in fact gathering. As Macpherson said, “All measures show interesting results, but they only ever tell a partial story.”

College Measures is an organization that wants to improve the decision making process of students, parents, and lawmakers. The group provides data on the ability of schools to meet 4 goals: completion and progression, efficiency, productivity, and gainful employment. Performance by state and at the national level can also be found on

Education Trust is an organization concerned with closing the achievement gap. It states that college rankings, specifically that by US News, aren’t practical. Education Trust’s College Results Online is a tool that provides the demographics of universities, net price, average student loan default rates, and graduation rates sorted by race and gender.