In order for the Obama administration’s proposed college ratings system to be fair, the system must take into account the differences in institutional resources and variations in the overall characteristics of different student bodies.
That was one of the key takeaways from a policy briefing staged on Capitol Hill Tuesday by The Civil Rights Project within the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA.
The briefing took on the form of a symposium and featured papers penned by several scholars who sought to illuminate the complexities associated with trying to develop standards by which to judge institutions of higher learning — particularly if those standards will be used to determine financial aid, as the Obama administration has signaled it wants to eventually do.
Several speakers suggested that graduation rates alone — typically the most popular of all benchmark — are not a fair measure of institutional effectiveness. Instead they said that certain variables — such as having fewer financial resources per student or serving students with less academic preparedness — should be weighted differently so that minority-serving institutions are not unfairly penalized. <Read more.>