On June 25, the Department of Education (DOE) announced it was dropping its plan to compare or “rate” colleges. The announcement coincided with a June 25 blog post by Jamienne Studley, deputy under secretary of the Department of Education and a keynote speaker at the NACE 2015 Conference & Expo, that outlined the administration’s overarching goals, progress, and plans moving forward relative to making college affordable and ensuring institutions support student success. Last fall, NACE leaders met with Deputy Under Secretary Studley to encourage the DOE to move away from a ratings system for schools. In her blog, Studley offered that DOE will release a consumer-facing tool this summer that enables students, their families, and other stakeholders to make their own judgments, and noted that “While no single measure is perfect, and many important elements of education cannot be captured by quantitative metrics, cultivating and releasing data about performance drives the conversation forward … .” The DOE’s decision to forgo ratings is consistent with the position NACE has taken—and shared—with the DOE, policy makers, and other stakeholders regarding ratings. We are proud that our community, through development and implementation of the first-destination survey standards and protocols, was able to provide vital insight and data that helped inform the DOE’s decision. On behalf of NACE leadership, I applaud the efforts of those schools that have moved forward to collect and analyze their students’ first-destination data, and encourage those that have not yet done so to take part so that their voices can be part of this important conversation. Sincerely, Marilyn Mackes NACE Executive Director
Posted June 2015.