While many bemoan the increasingly large role rankings play in
American higher education, their prominence and importance are
indisputable. Such rankings have many different audiences, ranging from
prospective undergraduates or graduate students, to foundations and
government funders, to university administrators identifying strengths and
weaknesses of their school. This diverse audience necessarily has varying
hopes for what “quality” is measured in school rankings, and
different uses for the rankings themselves. But although there are
currently a wide variety of ways to assess graduate school quality, most
existing surveys have recognized failings that compromise their usefulness
to at least one of these different constituencies.
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