U.S. News staffers took part in the NACAC/U.S. News and World Report Ad Hoc Committee at the National Association for College Admission Counseling's 2010 annual conference in St. Louis. This late September gathering was the second meeting between NACAC and U.S. News to discuss many issues relating to our annual Best Colleges rankings guide.
NACAC just released a summary of the most recent NACAC/U.S. News committee meeting.
Among the highlights from the meeting:
U.S. News clarified that this is a NACAC committee, of which U.S. News staffers are not members. NACAC agreed and said that any material or presentations from the committee will clearly distinguish the U.S. News position on each issue, and that it will be made clear when the views of U.S. News differ from those of the NACAC committee members.
There was a detailed discussion about the NACAC members' May 2010 survey on their views toward the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings. NACAC said that some of the results would be released in the near future.
U.S. News expressed its approval that NACAC conducted this survey, since it offered significant insights about how high school counselors and colleges view the rankings and how the rankings are impacting their institutions and the admissions process.
Some of the NACAC committee members expressed concern about the academic peer assessment portion of the Best Colleges methodology and how heavily it was weighted in the ranking model. U.S. News pointed out that the weight of the academic peer survey in the National Universities and National Liberal Arts categories in the latest edition was reduced by 10 percentage points from past years.
NACAC and U.S. News discussed concerns with the selectivity measures used in the annual Best Colleges rankings, including SAT and ACT test scores and acceptance rate. U.S. News noted that the acceptance rate has a weight of just 1.5 percent in the ranking model and that, for all practical purposes, it's impossible for schools to move up in the rankings by just concentrating on rejecting more students and getting in more applications.
Some NACAC committee members questioned the use of class rank in the ranking methodology, since it is no longer used by many secondary and postsecondary schools. U.S. News pointed out that high school class rank is still used in public college admissions in Texas, Florida, and California—the three largest states—and that we will continue to study the trend.
Bottom line: We believe these meeting are very valuable since they give U.S. News a chance to have direct communications with NACAC's membership and to listen to their opinions and suggestions. U.S. News hopes the committee is able to continue in some form beyond next year's annual meeting in New Orleans.
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