In "Is There Life After Rankings?" Colin Diver, former dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and current president of Reed College, reflects on the tyranny of rankings at Penn and his liberation when he assumed the presidency of Reed, a school that does not participate in rankings.
There are some inherent contradictions in this article. He bashes the rankings for their corrupting influence at Penn, where apparently many decisions were made with an eye on how the decisions would influence Penn’s rank. At Reed, which hasn’t provided information to US News for the last ten years, the rankings do not influence his administrative decisions. Guess what? In Diver’s words:
"Far from committing suicide, Reed College has survived. Indeed, it has thrived. Over the past ten years the number of applicants has increased by 27 percent, and the quality of entering students, as indicated both by conventional SAT and GPA measures and by Reed’s internal "reader rating" system, has steadily increased—it is far higher than suggested by our nominal place in the U.S. News pecking order."
So if Reed can thrive without playing the rankings game, why can’t other institutions? Why can’t the schools just make the best decisions from an educational perspective, and let the rankings do their thing, just as Reed has done?
Perhaps the problem isn’t with the rankings, but with schools’ reactions to receiving grades as opposed to giving them.