Education agency knocks college rankings

Sweden’s National Agency for Higher Education (Högskoleverket) has criticized the ranking of different universities and colleges, arguing the lists don’t help students pick the right school.

According to the agency, the rankings do very little to help students distinguish between the differences in quality between different institutes of higher learning.

At the request of the government, Högskoleverket is in the process of surveying various methods for ranking educational institutions.

In its findings, released in a statement on Tuesday, the agency contends that most rankings should not be considered as useful consumer information because they don’t provide students the guidance necessary to help them choose the best possible education.

The lack of clarity is especially pronounced when attempting to compare entire institutions.

“If the rankings are supposed to facilitate the students’ choice, they must contain information which is relevant and multi-faceted and which clearly shows the difference in quality,” said Anders Flodström, head of Högskoleverket, in a statement.

“Therefore it’s better to have multi-dimensional rankings, ideally interactive, where students can themselves choose which criteria are important and relevant for them.”

Higher education minister Lars Leijonborg has made previous public statements in support of rankings as a way to give students guidance in choosing where to study.