Rich Vedder at the Center for College Affordability & Productivity has a new effort to measure the educational quality at institutions of higher learning. He admits it is imperfect, but it certainly is more relevant than the sorts of stuff measured by US News:
But just below the top there are some surprises. Duke, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania make the top 10 list at U.S. News but not at CCAP. Duke students don't rate their professors high enough. At the University of Pennsylvania not enough grads made it into Who's Who. Brown and Northwestern, both ranked 14 by U.S. News, and Dartmouth College, ranked 11 by U.S. News, all make it onto our top 10. The University of Alabama, which got great reviews from students, came in a number 7 on our national public university ranking; it's at position 42 on U.S. News' list.
The biggest surprises come in our list of liberal arts colleges. Wabash doesn't make the top 50 on U.S. News' list but ranks tenth with CCAP because of the awards its students won and its showing in Who's Who. Several other schools not high on the U.S. News list, including Whitman, Washington & Lee, Barnard and the U.S. Military Academy (a.k.a. West Point), are in our top 10. A number of excellent smaller liberal arts colleges do poorly on the U.S. News list but fare very well on the CCAP list, including Reed (twelfth) and Knox (sixteenth). Like other consumers, students want satisfaction and results, which is what CCAP measures.
The rankings for national universities is here.