Monday, March 12, 2007

A New Way of Ranking Universities by Student Experience

A number of Ndarala professionals have been involved with the higher education sector as staff members or advisers, so we spend a fair bit of time talking about higher education issues.

One vexed issue has been the ranking system used to create public pecking lists among universities. Too often these focus on those things perceived by academics to be important in creating prestige such as research dollars or position on citation indices, ignoring perhaps the most important criterion of all, the student experience. This includes the question of value for money.

As a way of testing this, we created on the Regional Living Australia Blog a new ranking system for Australia's universities focused solely on the student experience. The post appears there because it links to one of the arguments on that blog, the value offered to students by Australian universities headquartered in Regional Australia.

This first pass ranking does not pretend to be absolutely rigorous. A lot more work is required to refine and extend the methodology used. However, the results were interesting in that they really did change the pecking order from those presented using conventional methodologies.

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