Rankings: a case of blurry pictures of the academic landscape?

Pablo Achard, Inside Higher Ed, Sept 21, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Rankings and recommendations are becoming all the more important in e-education, but ranking remains an elusive goal. Pablo Achard writes, "The image of the academic landscape grabbed by the rankings is always a bit out-of-focus." Quite so. But then he adds, "This is improving with time." I fail to see the improvement. He writes, "This toughness to obtain clean and comparable data is the main reason for the lack of any good indicator about teaching quality." Yes. But also, there is no agreement on what would even count as data. We're a long way away from any consensus. I agree with Malcolm Grant. "The basic problem is that there is no definition of the ideal university... On teaching, there are simply no robust data on which global comparison can be made."
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