But what if the richest and best-known colleges and universities don't provide the highest-quality education? Would the perceived value of degrees from those institutions decline, and would colleges that were shown in fact to provide higher-quality courses be held in more esteem than they are now?This confirms the suspicions I put into a comment:
The push to measure student learning outcomes and other attempts to gauge which institutions, programs and courses most help students learn have been motivated, in part, by skepticism about the assumption that the most famous and selective institutions deliver the highest-quality learning. But the quest for proof to the contrary has at times seemed quixotic.
Researchers at Teachers College of Columbia University and at Yeshiva University, however, believe they are developing a legitimate way to compare the educational quality of courses across institutions -- and their initial analysis, they say, "raises questions about the value of higher-prestige institutions in terms of their teaching quality." They are cautious about asserting that they have proof, and experts on learning challenge some of their assumptions and warn against reading too much into them.
No surprise. When I went off to USC, a classmate went to MIT. My impression was that MIT wasn't so much better, but attracted (and admitted) much higher quality students. They were superior not because of an MIT education, but because MIT admitted only the very best.Something to remember when Junior asks you to take out a second mortgage to pay for Yale, Harvard, or Reed.