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Changing higher education’s ratings

Mitch Daniels is proposing school ratings that look at education quality through scientific data.
/ Source: MSNBC TV

Mitch Daniels is proposing school ratings that look at education quality through scientific data.

There’s a common belief that the more expensive a university, the better quality of the education. But some school leaders, such as Purdue University President and former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, are trying to debunk the idea by changing the way schools are rated.

Daniels, who joined Chuck Todd for Tuesday’s The Daily Rundown, said that despite skyrocketing education costs, “people are waking up to the fact, in higher ed at least, that higher sticker prices don’t tell you anything about the quality.”

He proposed instead that school ratings should look at the real quality of an education using scientific data gathered qualitatively and quantitatively from knowledge tests and the success of its graduates in the work place.

“The next frontier is to start measuring the growth of students while at Purdue in a scientifically credible way so we can say to the world and say to future students, ‘Come here, you’ll learn a lot,’” said the university president.

Purdue, which has been one of the most progressive universities for ratings reform, has already tried to improve its education by freezing tuition for the past two years and cutting cafeteria meal prices. Daniels even requested that part of his salary be tied to students’ academic improvements using a metrics that a committee is currently developing, which he said would likely include critical learning analysis, discipline knowledge, and success in the workplace.

Other universities and organizations are trying to develop similar ways to measure the quality of education, including administering a voluntary Collegiate Learning Assessment test, which includes a performance task and an analytical writing section, to school seniors near graduation.

The high cost of university education, however, remains an issue that Daniels said needs to be addressed by universities and the government.

“More information, more transparency to future students and parents about what things really cost, how dollars are really being spent, how much on instruction versus administration and so forth I think are very, very helpful,” said Daniels. “And frankly [the government] ought to restructure the loan and grant programs, which have been a big driver honestly in running up the cost of education.”

Check out Chuck’s full conversation with former Gov. Daniels above.