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  Reed: no rank and filer

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For the seventh consecutive year, Reed declined to submit data to U.S. News & World Report for its annual fall college rankings issue, guidebook, and website. U.S. News, however, insists on including Reed and uses data gathered from non-college sources, leaving blanks when no information is available.

Reed maintains that the rankings are, at best, an unfortunate distraction for prospective students and their families and, at worst, a measure that corrupts the critically important college decision-making process.

This year, U.S. News ranked Reed in the second tier of colleges, which also includes St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. Reed and St. John’s are two of only four colleges in the national liberal arts category that refused to submit data to U.S. News. Both schools have been called the most intellectual colleges in the country by Loren Pope, former higher education editor at the New York Times, in his book Colleges That Change Lives. He has also praised Reed for resisting the rankings game.

It was actually acting president Peter Steinberger who several years ago asked then-president Steven Koblik why Reed continued to actively participate in the rankings if the college found them so abhorrent (early on the college was among the top schools in the liberal arts category).

“If the rankings were such an affront to Reed’s educational values,” says Steinberger, “we needed to carefully examine taking a principled stand and pulling out.”

When the college made the decision to opt out that next year, U.S. News threatened the college with a lawsuit and singled Reed out for censorious treatment in various ways. An unintended consequence of this retaliatory behavior was that Reed received — and continues to receive — national attention and almost universal praise for its stance. Last year, for example, Reed received special mention in a Washington Monthly article that eviscerated the rankings. This year, with the assistance of the former director of data research for U.S. News, the Washington Monthly continued its assault on the rankings — and the complicity of the country’s institutions of higher education—in “Broken Ranks: U.S. News’ College Rankings Measure Everything but What Matters.” (see article ). End of Article


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