来源:www.putclub.com 2019-01-29

College education:

The ladder of fame

ON AUGUST 18th US News & World Report released its 2007 rankings of Americas top colleges. The survey began in 1983 as a simple straw poll, when the magazine asked 662 college presidents to identify the countrys best places of learning. It has since mutated into an annual ordeal for reputable universities. A strong showing in the rankings spurs student interest and alumni giving; a slip has grave consequences for public relations.

University administrators deeply dislike the survey. Many reject the idea that schools can be stacked up against one another in any meaningful way. And the surveys methodology is suspect. The rankings are still based partly on peer evaluations. They compare rates of alumni giving, which has little to do with the transmission of knowledge. Besides, the magazines data are supplied by the schools and uncorroborated.

But whether the rankings are fair is beside the point, because they are wildly influential. In the 1983 survey barely half of the presidents approached bothered to respond. Today, only a handful dare abstain.

Most, in fact, do more than simply fill out the survey. Competition between colleges for top students is increasing, partly because of the very popularity of rankings. Colin Diver, the president of Reed College in Oregon, considers thatrankings create powerful incentives to manipulate data and distort institutional behaviour.” A school may game the system by soliciting applications from students who stand no chance of admission, or by leaning on alumni to arrange jobs for graduates. Reed is one of the few prominent colleges that dares to disdain to take part in the US News survey.

In some ways, the scramble to attract applicants has helped students. Universities such as Duke in North Carolina and Rice in Houston are devoting more money to scholarships. That seems a reasonable response to the challenge of the rankings, as the National Centre for Education Statistics reckons that roughly two-thirds of undergraduates rely on financial aid.

Other colleges, though, are trying to drum up excitement by offering perks that would have been unheard of a generation ago. Students at the University of California, Los Angeles now appreciate weekly maid service in the dorms. “The elevators”, enthused a respondent to an online survey, “smell lemon fresh.”

Students at Pennsylvania State University enjoy free access to Napster, the music-sharing service. Multi-million dollar gyms have become so common that they are unremarkable.

University officials, defending this strategy, often imply that they are only responding to student demand. Discouraging words for those who believe that a colleges job is to educate, not coddle.



《美国新闻与世界报道(US News & World Report)》于8月18日刊登了2007年度美国名校的排名。这项调查最早在1983年以一种非正式投票的形式开始。当时,为挑出全国最好的大学,杂志向662所高校的校长发出了调查。从此以后,这项调查就成了那些名校一年一度必经的考核:如果学校名列前茅将吸引学生的兴趣和校友的赞助;排名下滑的话就会严重影响学校的声誉。



实际上,大多数学校所做的不仅是简单地填写调查表。大学之间招收优等生的竞争日益激烈,部分原因是学生很看重大学排名。俄勒冈州里德大学校长科林·戴福尔(Colin Diver)认为,“排名(的重要性)使人们有强烈的欲望去捏造数据,或采用非正当手段(参与竞争)。”学校也许会给原本无望入学的学生发出邀请函,或者依靠校友为毕业生安排工作,以此来赢取好的排名。里德大学是为数不多的敢于拒绝《美国新闻》排名调查的名牌大学之一。





spur  n.①靴刺,马刺;②刺激,刺激物;v.刺激,激励

grave n.坟墓;a.严肃的,庄重的

[真题例句]Lots of Americans bought that nonsense, and over three decades, some 10 million smokers went to early graves (n.).[2005年阅读2]

[例句精译] 竟然有许多美国人买这些谬论的帐,30年来,大约有一千万烟民早早就进了坟墓。

reject  v.①拒绝,抵制,驳回;②丢弃;③排斥,退掉

[真题例句]In fact it is simply shallow: the confused center is right to reject (②) it.[1997年翻译]

[例句精译] 事实上,它很肤浅;困惑的中间派正要放弃它。

[真题例句](65) Until these issues are resolved, a technology of behavior will continue to be rejected (③), and with it possibly the only way to solve our problems.[2002年翻译]

[例句精译] (65)(如果)这些问题得不到解决,研究行为的技术手段就会继续受到排斥,解决问题的惟一方式可能也随之继续受到排斥。

peer  n.同等的人,贵族;vi.凝视,窥视;vt. 与……同等,封为贵族