President Obama wants to rate colleges’ “value.” Higher ed leaders hate the idea, writes Libby Nelson on Vox. When the feds tried to rate colleges by quality — in 1911 — college leaders lobbied so vigorously they got the Babcock report quashed.
The U.S. Bureau of Education’s Kendric Babcock, a former college president, rated 600 colleges and universities by how well they prepared students for graduate work. Class 1 graduates would need only a year of graduate school to finish a degree, he estimated. In Class 2 and 3, students would need more time. Class 4 graduates would start out two years behind, he predicted.
Babcock’s top-rated private universities continue to be first rate, notes Kieran Healy on Crooked Timber.
However, some of the state flagship universities that made Babcock’s Class I have slipped in prestige. “Madison, Urbana, Washington, Ohio State, Austin, Minnesota, Purdue, Indiana, Kansas, and Iowa are much lower-ranked today,” writes Healy.
A few public universities that were poorly rated in 1911, such as Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Texas A&M, are ranked much higher today.