Why are the "Big 3" all unranked schools?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by bicycledude, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. bicycledude

    bicycledude member

    I know that rankings are not necessarily a deal breaker, but most of these strictly online schools seem to all be unranked. Do they simply not divulge the information required by US News to rank them properly?
  2. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    The US News tier rankings get more attention than they deserve. Especially when they are applied to graduate programs, as DI posters so often do. (USNews has a separate rankings issue for graduate programs, which is a bit more meaningful.)

    The USNews tier rankings are rankings of undergraduate programs. They rank programs according to how closely they emulate the traditional liberal-arts college model. USNews wants high initial selectivity, high test scores and high school grades, small class sizes, low student/faculty ratios, full-time enrollment, low dropout rates, and timely graduation in four years. They also emphasize general institutional reputation among university administrators (not subject-matter reputation among faculty) which privileges the usual-suspect schools that in many cases are famous for being famous.

    Schools that specialize in adult learners, are open-admissions, don't pay attention to decades old high-school grades or require SAT test scores, have non-traditional classes, enroll mostly part-time students, have high attrition rates and low net graduation yields, and don't impress the socks off university administrators, fall to the bottom of the fourth tier automatically.

    Significantly, a low tier ranking doesn't necessarily imply bad education. My own feeling is that some of the fourth tier schools offer very good classes and may even be leaders in specialty subjects. But they aren't run like liberal arts colleges and they definitely aren't stylish. They are the working-man's schools, more apt to offer lots of night-school and DL programs in vocational subjects to part-time adult students. The left-wing snobs who infest higher education while posing as if they were champions of the people disdain the blue-collar schools and consider them a lesser breed.

    But many of the schools that Degreeinfo loves to talk about don't appear in the rankings at all. Why is that?

    In recent years, and likely as the result of criticism, USNews has moved likes of Excelsior, COSC and TESC from the fourth tier to an 'unranked' category because these schools deviate so dramatically from the preferred USNews model. Many of DI's other favorites (NCU, Capella etc.) are largely or entirely graduate schools. (UCSan Francisco, the Scripps Research Institute and the Naval Postgraduate School don't show up in any of the USNews tiers for the same reason.)
  3. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    "they aren't run like liberal arts colleges and they definitely aren't stylish. They are the working-man's schools, more apt to offer lots of night-school and DL programs in vocational subjects to part-time adult students. The left-wing snobs who infest higher education while posing as if they were champions of the people disdain the blue-collar schools and consider them a lesser breed."

    I love tht paragraph :)
  4. 03310151

    03310151 Active Member

    You got that right.

    You should watch th emovie Indoctrinate U. No matter what your political persuasion, it is a real eye opener.
  5. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    There are several factors that prevent DL schools from being assigned USN&WR rankings:

    (1) USN&WR only addresses regionally accredited institutions. Many online schools are nationally accredited, typically by DETC, and are therefore excluded completely.

    (2) USN&WR uses standardized test scores (SAT/ACT) as a component of their rankings. But some RA schools don't use such scores for their admissions decisions, which means that they do not "fit" the system, and are therefore listed as "unranked". This includes certain traditional B&M schools (like Sarah Lawrence College), as well as many DL schools.

    (3) USN&WR does not assign a ranking to RA schools "where a vast proportion of students are nontraditional" (2008 edition, p. 77)

    It does seem likely that most or all DL schools would fall into the fourth (= lowest) tier of the USN&WR rankings, if an attempt was made to include them. However, there is technically no "bottom of the fourth tier" in the USN&WR rankings. USN&WR does not attempt to rank schools within the third and fourth tiers; if a school falls into one of these tiers, it is simply listed alphabetically.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2009
  6. Arch23

    Arch23 New Member

    They do rank; they just don't "publish" them, listing them alphabetically instead. ;)
  7. ideafx

    ideafx New Member

    There's something I find odd about the US News Rankings. All the schools I've ever looked up (quite a few) are either tier 1, 3, 4 or unranked. I've yet to see a tier 2 school.

    What exactly does US News consider to be a tier 2 college?
  8. mongoose65

    mongoose65 New Member

    What is the point? Is "rank" really worth anything? I do not know an employer or grad school who question rank. Either they are familiar with the program (or not) or have specific criteria that must be met for their program. I've never heard of rank being part of that criteria. It's just marketing for the school's admissions wing.
  9. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    Just to be clear for posters who might be unfamiliar: The OP was asking specifically about the "Big 3" (Excelsior, Charter Oak, and Thomas Edison) and all three, and many, many other online schools, are regionally accredited. DETC has historically been primarily an accreditor of trade schools and their growth in the area of more broadly-focused 4 year colleges is a more recent (last 10 years) occurrence. These factors (the history as a trade school accreditor combined with the more recent accreditation of 4 year institutions) is likely a significant part of the reason why credits and degrees from DETC-accredited schools are not yet widely accepted by the majority of regionally accredited programs.
  10. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    USN&WR historically placed schools in four tiers, numbered 1 to 4.

    At some point, though, they stopped distinguishing between tiers 1 and 2. Now they have three categories:

    - a top tier, where schools are individually ranked
    - tier 3, where schools are listed alphabetically
    - tier 4, where schools are listed alphabetically

    So there is no longer a tier 2. Informally, the lower-ranked schools in the top tier generally correspond to the old tier 2, but formally this distinction does not exist.
  11. Tom57

    Tom57 Member

    I won't dispute that there is no shortage of snobbery in education. The idea that this is the sole domain of left-wing snobs who "infest" higher education is complete nonsense. I mean if we're going to make reckless generalizations, then I would generalize that most "working men" are Democrats. Take a trip down to the nearest union local and take a quick survey about whom members voted for last November. Oh I forgot, you mean "working men" who aren't members of a union, who don't live in cities, who are white, and who support the right to carry firearms. Union members are generally lazy and socialists. Working men and women who are left wing are communists or crack addicts. Do I have that about right?

    If I want to find a nest of snobs, the mother lode might be some exclusive country club, or here in the Bay Area, a place like the Bohemian Club. Take a survey there, and you'll probably find that most are conservatives. Should we now conclude that liberal snobs infest higher education, and conservative snobs infest boardrooms?

    There, have we generalized enough for one evening? Ridiculous.
  12. bicycledude

    bicycledude member

    thanks guys...I got my degre from u of p and im trying to decide if i should go back to gradauate school. it seems like most hr personal don't give my resume the time of day. is there a good university that will except me into graduate studies with my degree in U of P?
  13. I'm sure there are many...what are you looking to do?

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