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Grading Washington’s four-year schools: An F for UW?

Post by Cheryl Tucker on Aug. 17, 2010 at 12:30 am with 2 Comments »
August 16, 2010 2:01 pm

In today’s column, Kathleen Parker writes about a new study, What Will They Learn, conducted by the nonprofit American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). It grades about 700 of the nation’s four-year colleges and universities, focusing on their “requirements as a measure of what an institution actually delivers.” Institutions typically were downgraded for not requiring students to take courses in economics, government and history.

Only 16 schools received A grades, and none were in Washington. The highest grade earned in this state was Seattle University’s B. Cougars have some bragging rights over the University of Washington, earning a C compared to the F for UW. (That grade has me wondering about the quality of this study, frankly.)

One very notable oversight was the study’s failure to include Pacific Lutheran University – even though the ACTA saw fit to rate City University. Spokesman David Azerrad said that the organization had limited resources and only this year expanded its rating pool from 100 to 700 schools. PLU’s absence, he said, “has been duly noted” and it will probably be included next year. PLU’s challenge: Beat the D earned by the University of Puget Sound.

Here’s how the state schools rated. Also included are graduation rates and in-school tuition and fees for a year.

Central Washington University, Ellensburg: C, 56 percent, $6,363

City University of Seattle: D, 26 percent, $13,880

Eastern Washington University, Cheney: C, 47 percent, $5,872

The Evergreen State College, Olympia: F, 58 percent, $5,647

Gonzaga University, Spokane: C, 83 percent, $29,675

Seattle University: B, 74 percent, $29,340

University of Puget Sound, Tacoma: D, 78 percent, $29,340

University of Washington, Seattle: F, 81 percent, $7,692

Washington State University, Pullman, C, 69 percent, $8,488

Whitman College, Walla Walla: D, 89 percent, $36,940

Whitworth University, Spokane: C, 73 percent, $28,650

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. lazowska says:

    This particular ranking is based upon the rigidity of an institution’s graduation requirements — the more flexible, the worse you do. Among Ivy League universities, a few grades are:

    Brown – F
    Yale – F
    Cornell – F
    Harvard – D
    Penn – D

  2. One flaw in this “report” might be that just because a field isn’t required for graduation, doesn’t mean that students aren’t taking those courses anyway. That said, I agree with the premise that basic economics and a few courses in history should be mandatory before any bachelors degree is issued. We have too many “educated” people in this country that are ignorant about these disciplines and they vote for equally ignorant politicians.

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