A regular reader sent us (pdf) these details behind this year’s US News rankings. Let’s spend five days discussing them. Today is Day 5.

Our previous four day’s of discussions have hit the most important points. To summarize the highlights:

1) The gap between Williams and its competitors is bigger than it has ever been. Unless US News substantially changes its methodology (something that it has done less and less over the years), we should be safely #1 for several more years.

2) It is hard for us to be certain of the exact sources of our advantage, although faculty resources and financial resources are obviously key. How can we get more details? Recall this lovely bit of virtue-signalling from a decade ago.

Statement on College Rankings

I, and the other undersigned presidents, agree that prospective students benefit from having as complete information as possible in making their college choices.

Since college and ranking agencies should maintain a degree of distance to ensure objectivity, from now on data we make available to college guides will be made public via our Web sites rather than be distributed exclusively to a single entity.

Doing so is true to our educational mission and will allow interested parties to use this information for their own benefit. If, for example, class size is their focus, they will have that information. If it is the graduation rate, that will be easy to find. We welcome suggestions for other information we might also provide publicly.

Is that promise still operational? The Record should try and find out.

3) Any move that would increase our ranking (and would be good/neutral to the quality of the education Williams provides) should be implemented. The most important of these is decreasing the number of large lectures.

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