Funded By: American Institutes for Research & Matrix Knowledge
Audience: Students, parents, educators
Focus: College prep, college effectiveness
Big Picture: A unique, data-driven site, College Measures seeks to provide real metrics around a host of specific factors attempting to define how successful colleges are. Users can search for two- and four-year colleges using a variety of criteria, then see fairly deep reports that measure such things as graduation rate, attrition (and its costs), and student loan default rates. The more general info will be relevant to students (tuition, class size, etc.), but the efficacy numbers may matter to parents and certainly to school benefactors and education policy-makers. The site provides a relevant newsfeed, as well as spotlighting key education reports when they’re issued. Another key data tool is Economic Success Metrics—reports that try to determine how economically-successful college graduates in a particular state are.
Big Challenge Solved: The site tries to truly answer the question, “Just what does college really do for me anyway?” The in-depth reports and analysis of tying tuition dollars to real-world success are extremely commendable.
Must Use: Since the site is about stats and analysis, users should first visit the Glossary and get familiar with the terms that they’ll want to understand to help them most accurately interpret the data.
Most Unique Tool: If you’ve got the time and interest, the info to be gleaned from the Economic Success Metrics reports is fascinating, resonant stuff—educators and parents will be armed with a greater understanding of the results of a college education.
Best Middle-School Student Tool: There probably isn’t a tremendous amount that a middle-schooler would gain from the site. Although math aficionados will groove on the charts found in the college data tools, and they may be able to use the info to educate their parents.
Best High-School Student Tool: Today’s high-schoolers are pretty savvy about current events, so the news section may pique their interests about people and activities in education—especially if the news might affect their own path to college and career.
Protip: This is not a site for casual scanning—come prepared with some time to really dig in and absorb the data that’s presented. Search for the top colleges that students ask about, and be ready to use the site for impactful counseling sessions.