Should UK university rankings be abolished?

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StarLinyx
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Should UK university rankings be abolished? Do they serve a useful purpose, or do they mislead young students into thinking one university is better than the other, despite the fact that universities being ranked in the top 30 or so actually have little to differentiate themselves in terms of standards of research and quality of teaching outside of Oxbridge (and perhaps LSE, Imperial and UCL)?
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Tinders
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They shouldn't necessarily be totally abolished however they should be rebranded.

What I mean by this is that there should be loads of different rankings for loads of different things.

For instance there should be seperate rankings for:

how academic a university is
how good it is for mental health
how good its research is
graduate prosepects etc etc

this way you build a clearer picture of how good a university actually is for what you specifically want. When you pile everything together you get some ridiculous results for instance the guardian putting KCL well below 50th place when its research is obviously much better than that
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Theloniouss
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University rankings are very slightly useful. I don't think anyone gives them as much weight as the newspapers who produce them like to pretend.
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StarLinyx
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(Original post by Theloniouss)
University rankings are very slightly useful. I don't think anyone gives them as much weight as the newspapers who produce them like to pretend.
I don't agree, mainly because of student satisfaction being included in the weighting. Also, some of the larger universities get penalised by the ratios and weighting used in league tables, and the smaller universities take advantage of that. Some universities largely ignore the league tables, and run their universities in a way which is not reflected as much in the rankings as other institutions, who may make a more targeted approach in their strategies.
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by StarLinyx)
I don't agree, mainly because of student satisfaction being included in the weighting. Also, some of the larger universities get penalised by the ratios and weighting used in league tables, and the smaller universities take advantage of that. Some universities largely ignore the league tables, and run their universities in a way which is not reflected as much in the rankings as other institutions, who may make a more targeted approach in their strategies.
All valid criticisms (although many league tables, like the QS rankings, are actually biased against small unis). That doesn't make them completely useless, though.
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amalie480
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Not abolished but I don't think people really need to put so much weight on rankings. Like you can use rankings as a suggestion but it'd be better to do your own research and find out whether you want to go to a high ranking university because it's suitable for you and just, for a lack of a better term, the clout that comes with high ranked universities.
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becausethenight
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I think it should be a lot clearer what factors are being used in the rankings. They're often presented as immutable fact but it obviously depends what is taken into account.
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by becausethenight)
I think it should be a lot clearer what factors are being used in the rankings. They're often presented as immutable fact but it obviously depends what is taken into account.
That would prevent newspapers from manipulating the rankings each year to produce the results that they want, though??
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becausethenight
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(Original post by Theloniouss)
That would prevent newspapers from manipulating the rankings each year to produce the results that they want, though??
:lol: The horror!
Seriously though this is the problem - plus I certainly know students who went off rankings and didn't realise great research output was compensating for rubbish undergrad satisfaction!
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StarLinyx
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(Original post by Theloniouss)
All valid criticisms (although many league tables, like the QS rankings, are actually biased against small unis). That doesn't make them completely useless, though.
Didn't they address this by using a means to take size into account when formulating the QS and THES World rankings? I believe they also did this for subjects also. ARWU have not done this, but they are the least favoured of the three major World rankings.
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by StarLinyx)
Didn't they address this by using a means to take size into account when formulating the QS and THES World rankings? I believe they also did this for subjects also. ARWU have not done this, but they are the least favoured of the three major World rankings.
Well I'm not totally caught up but it's certainly possible the concerns have been addressed since I last checked.
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mnot
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Whilst I personally wish they didn’t exist im not sure id support legal abolition of them.

One thing I think needs to improve is ensuring teachers in advisory roles are better informed. I still remember my head of 6form telling my year in a big assembly that the Russell Group was the most prestigious universities, she was the person advising everyone at my school.

Perhaps UCAS could play a role in training up advisors at local comprehensive schools, because I really think looking back the advice I got from my school teachers was woeful and I rather suspect the same **** is peddled out at lots of local comps/academies whereas private & grammar schools have people in house offering genuinely reasonable guidance.
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Smack
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(Original post by StarLinyx)
Should UK university rankings be abolished? Do they serve a useful purpose, or do they mislead young students into thinking one university is better than the other, despite the fact that universities being ranked in the top 30 or so actually have little to differentiate themselves in terms of standards of research and quality of teaching outside of Oxbridge (and perhaps LSE, Imperial and UCL)?
There aren't actually any official rankings to abolish. Various newspapers publish rankings, which are based on various criteria, hence why the tables differ. I'm not sure if there is a mechanism that could prevent newspapers - or any organisation - from publishing a table.
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mathperson
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(Original post by StarLinyx)
Should UK university rankings be abolished? Do they serve a useful purpose, or do they mislead young students into thinking one university is better than the other, despite the fact that universities being ranked in the top 30 or so actually have little to differentiate themselves in terms of standards of research and quality of teaching outside of Oxbridge (and perhaps LSE, Imperial and UCL)?
Yes, they absolutely should be abolished.

Very rarely does an undergraduate student attend more than one university in order to obtain their degree. So therefore, how can a student's review of their university be in any way helpful when they are unable to compare their own experience with the experience that they would have at another university?
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_gcx
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No, though in their current form they don't serve their purpose brilliantly.

I think abolishing them would give the illusion all degrees are created equal (are of equal demand, equal course quality, etc.) which is not a helpful idea at all. While at school, whatever college you go to you'll be sitting pretty much the same A-level (possibly different exam boards), universities may offer very different courses under similar names. As long as there are disparities, there should be something to point them out. You are right that league tables tend to give the impression some disparities are greater than they are, though.

They remain good to "get a feel" as to what universities are good for your subject and starting your research. They should not be a primary deciding factor.
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jonathanemptage
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I think they should it seems to me the amount of recerch a university does has a huge bearing on rankings so smaller unis are stuck lower down the league tables because they just plain don’t have the space.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Smack)
There aren't actually any official rankings to abolish. Various newspapers publish rankings, which are based on various criteria, hence why the tables differ. I'm not sure if there is a mechanism that could prevent newspapers - or any organisation - from publishing a table.
Exactly - and fundamentally the issue isn't with the rankings, it's how people (mostly school leavers and sometimes school officials) perceive them and hence use them uncritically to make major life decisions. Which is a far deeper issue that's a lot more difficult to solve...
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Hellllpppp
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It’s up to people if they want to use them. I just applied to unis that did my course then for my firm and insurance I went for the ones I would be happiest at, even though Loughborough is a top 10 and has great student satisfaction I could just tell I wouldn’t be in the the majority that enjoy it. I also rejected Bath which is supposedly a top 10 as their virtual applicant days just really disappointed me.
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cchloepx
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I don’t necessarily think they should be abolished but I think they are incredibly stupid.

So many different newspapers or websites post uni rankings and they’re very vague about how they rank them, the placements, etc.

I think like one group should be an authority on the uni rankings rather than loads of different groups making them based on different things, and as others have said, doing rankings for different aspects that are important to people like graduate prospects, etc.

However, I think overall rankings by subject/school/course are more useful. Like, Leeds ranks 14th for modern languages, which I think is pretty good. But overall it can sometimes be ranked as far back as like 38?
Personally I think people focus too harshly on the general rankings. Like yeah, Oxford is prestigious, so is St. Andrews and Cambridge, etc. But those really mean nothing if those unis don’t offer a good level of education for your course or support.
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chazwomaq
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What do you mean abolished? Newspaper editors get thrown in jail if they publish them?

If you don't like uni rankings, don't look at them.

What is this weird tendency to try and ban things you don't like?
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