StudentsReview ™ :: Best All-Around Education

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StudentsReview OFFICIAL Rankings
New Years Day, 2005


* Best All-Around Education *

Purpose
The schools that provide the best “all around” education are those that excel in educational quality, academic success, and innovation for most groups of students — men, women, instate, out-of-state, international, and so on.  The factors that constitute a valuable education for the future are described below.  There should be some surprises, which mean that those schools are doing unexpectedly well for their students, regardless of a large national reputation.

StudentsReview biases its Education rankings heavily towards Educational Quality, and Academic Success based upon actual understanding.  Many institutions neither try educate students, nor insure that academic performance matches actual understanding.  These failures harm students significantly.  (see bottom)

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About this College Ranking

StudentsReview's Criteria for the Best All Around Education is:

30% - Educational Quality
20% - Academic Success is based upon 'understanding'
15% - Creativity & Innovation Encouragement
10% - Mind Use/Challenge
5% - Course Competitiveness
5% - Faculty Accessibility
5% - Schoolwork is Useful & Instructive
5% - Instructors Speak English
3% - Students Would Return Again
2% - University Funding Use

Educational Quality 
Educational Quality accumulates many factors — the effectiveness of the coursework, professors' effort levels, opportunities outside the classroom, how will the information “sticks”, the organization of the courses, how confident the students feel with the material after the courses.

Academic Success is based upon 'understanding'  This is fundamentally important.  In a world obsessed with grades, it is imperative that any educational institution insure that the grades it gives, the metrics, and evaluations are clear and appropriate to the student's mastery. 
Many schools stake their reputation on grades, and their abilities to make qualified, educated, and ambitious people either fail out, or do poorly — because then it artificially seems as though the education is difficult. 

This does an enormous disservice to students and their families, who invest and save their entire lives to help increase the opportunities of their children, where the institution then takes their money on that promise, then diminishes those opportunities to build their own reputation.  To either the successful or naive observer, it may seem that grades are a direct reflection of a student's own performance, but they are not.  Curving policies, “fairness” assertions, and forced fail-out rates enforce something entirely different.  The sad part is that because of the number of years this occurs over for the student, and peoples' abilities to “self-blame”, that the failure on the part of the institution to understand the purpose of its own education, and to act in its students' interests is totally overlooked.

Students attend college for an education, and an increase in opportunities.  This measures how well those opportunities and success follow from the student's own efforts and understanding.

Innovation 
Innovation is the conversion of educational knowledge into new opportunities, and new ways of doing things.  Pure education can become outdated, but teaching a student how and encouraging their creativity and innovation will provide them with returns for the rest of their lives.

Mind Use/Challenge 
To force students to grow, to achieve potentials beyond what they originally considered, the coursework must be CHALLENGING.

Course Competitiveness 
While a certain amount of competition is a good thing, this metric measures the amount of “bad competition” — the kind that results in cheating, hoarding knowledge, looking over the shoulder, and the general kind that is counterproductive to the working relationships at highly profitable companies, or in effective management.  Effective companies and employees — and “people” in general are those that work together openly.  Cut-throat competition teaches a work ethic & mentality that is actually counter to success.

Faculty Accessibility 
To gain access to a wealth of real-world or research experience, and find opportunities, or just to understand some fundamental principle, the faculty must be accessible.

Schoolwork is Useful & Instructive 
Many schools give coursework for the purpose of delivering grades rather than the purpose of educating students.  Students have evaluated to say what proportion of their coursework is useful and instructive.  In the context of a good education, busywork does not assist (for the most part) understanding and competency in the workforce, and provides a mechanism by which grades do not match competency, harming students post-graduation opportunities.  The purpose of universities is to educate, not to babysit, nor to leverage customers for reputation.

Instructors Speak English 
One would be surprised at the degree and number of instructors who do not speak english at large institutions.  Besides providing questionable instruction, the number of represents the respect and interest the institution has for their undergraduates.  If they do not take the time to make certain their instructors are understandable, then they may have interests other than their student body.

Would Return (Overall Experience) 
All things stated, would the students choose to return?  This blanket captures things that all of our ratings did not, or could not capture.  Is there some unknown factor affecting why students would not return?

University Funding Use 
While many schools may argue this, University Funding, from the prospective of the students is meant to be used for 2 things: Improving immediate conditions on campus for the CURRENT CUSTOMER BASE, and in increasing reputation so that the VALUE of the physical degree is grows over time.  A growing reputation means that doors will continue to open throughout your life due to the “Name” on your degree.



We did not stratify by research institutions because we felt that while research institutions may present different opportunities than liberal arts, the education provided to undergraduates is not necessarily better, worse, or even that different, and many prospective students consider them all nearly equally when choosing where to apply.

Note: There is no separation by department/major to show relative strengths at this time.

Filtering and Analysis
To find out how the data analysis was performed for the 2005 New Years Day OFFICIAL Rankings, including filtering, invalidity, weighting, distribution matching, and inherent biases, please go to 2005 NYD Rankings Explained. 

 

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