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Methodology: 2015 Best Education Schools Rankings

Find out how U.S. News ranks graduate education programs.

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Graduate education programs at 356 schools granting doctoral degrees were surveyed in fall 2013 and early 2014; 256 responded, and 245 provided data needed to calculate rankings based on a weighted average of these 10 measures. All schools are listed in the online directory.

[See the Best Education Schools rankings.]

Quality assessment (weighted by 0.40)

Peer assessment score (0.25): In fall 2013, education school deans and deans of graduate studies at education schools were asked to rate programs on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding). Those individuals who did not know enough about a school to evaluate it fairly were asked to mark "don't know."

A school's score is the average of all the respondents who rated it. Responses of "don't know" counted neither for nor against a school. About 36 percent of those surveyed responded.

Superintendent assessment score (0.15): In fall 2013, school superintendents nationwide in a sampling of school districts were asked to rate programs on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding). Those individuals who did not know enough about a school to evaluate it fairly were asked to mark "don't know."

A school's score is the average of all the respondents who rated it. Responses of "don't know" counted neither for nor against a school. About 15 percent of those surveyed responded.

For the purpose of calculating this year's rankings, the two most recent years of superintendent survey results were averaged and weighted by 0.15. 

For the first time, the names of the school superintendents, hiring contacts and education professionals were provided by the graduate education schools themselves.

Student selectivity (weighted by 0.18)

Mean GRE verbal scores (0.06): This is the mean verbal score of the GRE for doctoral students entering in the 2013-2014 academic year. Where mean GRE verbal scores were not available for entering doctoral students, mean GRE verbal scores for all entering graduate students were substituted, if available, in the ranking calculations.

Mean GRE quantitative scores (0.06): This is the mean quantitative score of the GRE for doctoral students entering in the 2013-2014 academic year. Where mean GRE quantitative scores were not available for entering doctoral students, mean GRE quantitative scores for all entering graduate students were substituted, if available, in the ranking calculations.

For both the mean GRE verbal scores and mean GRE quantitative scores that were used in the ranking calculations, the new and old GRE scores were converted to a common scale. GRE scores displayed on the ranking tables are for doctoral students only, and all those displayed on the ranking tables are for new exams taken during or after August 2011 using the new 130-170 score scale. The GRE data are only available via a U.S. News Education School Compass subscription.

Acceptance rate (0.06): This is the proportion of applicants to the doctoral program who were offered admission for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Faculty resources (weighted by 0.12)

Student-faculty ratio (0.045): The 2013 ratio of all full-time equivalent doctoral students to full-time faculty.

Percent of faculty with awards (0.025): The average percentage of the full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty who held awards or editorships among selected education journals in 2012 and 2013.

For the fifth year in row, this indicator in the rankings used a more comprehensive list of education-related awards and journals adapted from a survey of deans from the Association of American Universities and Council of Academic Deans from Research Education Institutions, conducted for U.S. News by a committee of AAU deans of education. U.S. News believes that this is a truly more comprehensive list.

Doctoral degrees granted (0.05): This is the ratio of the number of doctoral degrees awarded in the past school year of 2012-2013 to the number of full-time faculty members in 2012-2013.

Research activity (weighted by 0.30)

Total research expenditures (0.15): This is the total education-school research expenditures averaged over fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Expenditures refer to separately funded research, public and private, conducted by the school.

Average expenditures per faculty member (0.15): This is the average research expenditures per full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty member averaged over fiscal years 2012 and 2013. Expenditures refer to separately funded research, public and private, conducted by the school.