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27/2/2020  
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EDUCATION
International Rankings

A Norwegian study demostrates that university rankings are not useful


A government-commissioned study of the placement of Norwegian universities in global rankings has concluded that even the top rankings are so based on subjective weightings of factors and on dubious data that they are useless as a basis for information if the goal is to improve higher education.
Ibercampus 22/9/2014 Send to a friend
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The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research commissioned the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education, or NIFU, to analyse Norwegian universities’ placements on international university rankings.

The ministry specifically wanted to know what the rankings meant for the universities in practice, and if there were factors at the national or institutional level that could explain the differences between Nordic countries.

In turn, NIFU appointed a working group of six staff members and external consultants who produced a 180-page report (in Norwegian only), titled Nordic Universities and International Rankings. What explains the Nordic placements and how do universities relate to these rankings?

The report provides in-depth analysis of the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities – ARWU – and the World University Rankings produced by Times Higher Education, or THE, and discusses the Leiden ranking on publication performance.

The second part discusses how Norwegian universities currently use the rankings, and their potential for further usage for policy and strategic purposes.

The main conclusions regarding the ARWU and THE are that “placement on those rankings is to a large degree based on a subjective weighting of factors which often have a weak relationship to the quality of education and research.

“The rankings are based on data that to a varying degree are made available and made transparent. The rankings say almost nothing about education.

“The international rankings are therefore not useful as the basis for information and feedback both on research and education, if the goal is further improvement of Norwegian higher education institutions.”

Source: University Worls News

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