University of Chicago medical school withdraws from US News rankings
CHICAGO — University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine will no longer participate in U.S. News & World Report’s medical school rankings, joining a growing list of institutions rejecting the rankings.
Leaders at the Chicago medical school have decided to no longer submit data to U.S. News to help the publication rank the institution. Typically, U.S. News asks medical schools to fill out surveys, and uses the results of those surveys, along with other information, to help rank the schools.
Leaders said in a memo sent to the medical school community Thursday evening that the decision was based on a number of factors, but “our overriding concern is to help address and reduce inequities in medical school education.”
“This decision is based on our judgment that the current methodology raises deep concerns about inequity perpetuated by the misuse of metrics that fail to capture the quality or outcomes of medical education for those who most need these data: applicants to medical school,” said Dr. Mark Anderson, medical school dean, and Dr. Vineet Arora, dean for medical education of the Biological Sciences Division and Pritzker School of Medicine, in the memo.
They wrote that aspiring medical students deserve “transparent, meaningful, and usable data that reflect both the quality of their educational experience and graduation outcomes.” They said the U.S. News rankings don’t provide that, and the medical school will share “essential information” on its admissions website.
They said they’ve written a letter to U.S. News editors seeking to convene stakeholders to discuss how to better measure and report on medical schools.
University of Chicago’s decision follows similar ones by medical schools across the country in recent weeks, including at Harvard, Stanford and Columbia universities and University of Pennsylvania.
Locally, other Illinois medical schools are making varied decisions amid the controversy.
Rush University’s medical school will continue to participate in the rankings, for now, Rush said in a statement. Rush will, however, “continue to assess their process of evaluating and ranking,” it said.
Meanwhile, the medical school at Chicago’s Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago is backing away from the ranking system. The school’s leaders decided in the fall to stop filling out the U.S. News survey, said Dr. Archana Chatterjee, dean of the university’s Chicago Medical School.
“I learned more about how flawed their methodology is and became really concerned that this wasn’t what we wanted to be a part of,” Chatterjee said. “We live in a competitive world, but what we are trying to teach our students is collaboration instead of competition. … That is not fostered by this type of ranking system that falsely makes one institution look better than another.”
The medical school at Loyola University has not submitted data for rankings for several years, a spokeswoman said. A spokeswoman for Northwestern University’s medical school declined to comment, and University of Illinois did not respond to a request for comment.
Of medical schools in Illinois, U.S. News ranked Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine 17th in the country for research, and University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine 20th in the nation for research. For research, University of Illinois’ medical school ranked 56th and Rush’s school ranked 68th. Loyola’s medical school was unranked.
U.S. News also has a separate ranking, in which medical schools are judged for their ability to train primary care doctors. University of Chicago’s medical school ranked 30th on that measure, Northwestern’s ranked 43rd, University of Illinois ranked 61st and Rush ranked 71st.
Harvard Medical School announced Jan. 17 that it was dropping out of the rankings. Harvard was rated the No. 1 medical school in the country for research by U.S. News in 2022.
Harvard Medical School Dean George Daley said in a letter at the time that “rankings cannot meaningfully reflect the high aspirations for educational excellence, graduate preparedness, and compassionate and equitable patient care that we strive to foster in our medical education programs.”
“As unintended consequences, rankings create perverse incentives for institutions to report misleading or inaccurate data, set policies to boost rankings rather than nobler objectives, or divert financial aid from students with financial need to high-scoring students with means in order to maximize ranking criteria,” Daley wrote.
When Harvard announced its decision earlier this month, U.S. News & World Report Executive Chairman and CEO Eric Gertler said in a statement: “Where students attend school and how they use their education are among the most critical decisions of their life, and with admissions more competitive and less transparent, and tuition increasingly expensive, we believe students deserve access to all the data and information necessary to make the right decision.”
Gertler said rankings should be just one component in a student’s decision of where to attend medical school. “The fact is, millions of prospective students annually visit U.S. News medical school rankings because we provide students with valuable data and solutions to help with that process,” he said.
The wave of dropouts follows a similar revolt in recent months by law schools across the country against U.S. News’ law school rankings.
U.S. News said in a letter to law school deans earlier this month that it is making changes to the way it ranks law schools, “including a reduced emphasis on the peer assessment surveys of academics, lawyers and judges, and an increased weight on outcome measures,” such as bar exam passage and employment outcomes.
U.S. News has said that it will continue to rank law schools, using publicly available data, regardless of whether a law school responds to its annual survey. But it will publish more detailed information for schools that do respond to the survey.