Most educators understand the negative effects of high-stakes testing.

They know that the dangers associated with putting pressure on teachers and principals to get ever higher scores year after year or face terrible sanctions, including loss of their job, their reputation, and their school.

They know that it leads to cheating, gaming the system, narrowing of the curriculum, and teaching to the test.

Now we see that something similar is happening to higher education. But it is happening because of the U.S. News & World Report‘s annual rankings.

Emory cheated. It submitted phony data.

Emory is a great university. Why would officials do that?

The stakes are so high that they have to get those ratings.

K-12 educators understand their pain.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution covered the scandal:

Critics say the lists can’t be trusted, especially because they rely on data supplied by the schools and go through little fact-checking. They challenge the notion that a mathematical formula can sum up a college — its campus culture, the accessibility of its teachers, its academic quality. Making a decision based on rankings also can lead a student to the wrong school, a potentially expensive lesson.

Can a mathematical formula sum up a school or a teacher? Can a letter grade give an accurate portrait of a school?

Wouldn’t it be great if all the institutions of higher education refused to submit data to the magazine? It’s all about boosting sales. Why do the universities cooperate with U.S. News?