Publishers Show Interest In Online Program Rankings

US News & World Report announced yesterday that they’re going to start collecting data on the quality of online education offerings that goes beyond the simple school reputations.

Citing a need for standardization in the assessment of online degree programs as well as a lack of comprehensive listings of accredited online degree programs, the magazine is seeking to collect information for a new online education section on its website. These listings will include information about a school’s background, admissions, tuition, course delivery, faculty, retention, graduation rates and career outcomes.

Interestingly, one site, while not comprehensive, is already providing some of the information that the magazine is looking to collect. College Choices for Adults, which is run by WCET, a division of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, includes data from the National Survey of Select Student Engagement for a variety of online institutions, ranking from Capella to Kaplan. Commenting on US News & World Report’s announcement, Cali Morrison wrote:

While we do not claim to currently be comprehensive, College Choices for Adults (www.collegechoicesforadults.org) provides adults looking to start or return to college online with quality assurance reviewed data regarding both the institution and the program. We are currently the only voluntary system where institutions report program-level learning outcomes, descriptions of assessments and recent results of those assessments. This allows potential students to align learning outcomes with their professional and personal goals for enrolling in the program as well as see how well recent students have performed in the program.

The information include on College Choices for Adults is impressive. While it doesn’t have every school out there, they do aggregate real student data about what type of impact an institution has on a student’s skillsets, their satisfaction about the educational experience, and their outcomes after graduation.