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    Rating America’s institutions of higher learning has grown into its own cottage industry.  Some judge based upon which applicants get in and how many do not.  Others analyze and evaluate the party experience at the College of the Ozarks Hard Work Uschools.  But the Center for College Affordability and Productivity ranks schools by what should be the most important question.  How well do they teach?

    Schools are rated by responses to the site, which tabulates millions of college students anonymously judging their instructors.  Each year, the Center releases a list of the 25 best and worst colleges and universities for teaching based on the results.

    The winner for last year actually has topped the survey for three years now.  OklahomaWesleyan University placed highest.  Its stated mission is to promote the “primacy of Jesus Christ, the Priority of Scripture, the Pursuit of Truth and the Practice of Wisdom.”

    Another school of conservative note making the list was College of the Ozarks.  This Presbyterian liberal arts school in Missouri charges most students no cash tuition, but does require weekly work on campus.

    College of the Ozarks, which has a strong record of "standing up for religious freedom," also scored well on Young America's Foundation's Top Ten Conservative Colleges list.   It also made U.S. News and World Report's rankings of best value and best colleges in the Midwest

    West Point and the United States Air Force Academy also rated very high. These were the only two “elite” institutions to make the cut.  No Ivy League student bodies rated their professors well as teachers.

    Along with the best comes the ranking of the 25 worst. 

    This list includes Pace University in New York (tuition alone over $36,000 for in state) and Seton Hall University (almost $34,000 per year in tuition.)  Two “flagship” state universities also appear, the University of Maryland and the University of Connecticut.

    Poorly rated schools tended to be grouped in the Northeast and Upper Midwest.  More engineering and technical schools appeared on the list as well.  This could reflect higher coursework demands or that science and technology is more difficult to teach.

    No schools from the South made the “bad” list, but the region did place four schools on the ranking of good teaching schools.  Liberal arts colleges fared well, as did schools with a specific religious educational identity.  According to CBS Moneywatch, the teaching prowess of liberal arts schools should not surprise “because (they) focus on undergraduate education and routinely offer instruction in small classes that allow students to get to know their professors and find mentors.”

    Of the many lists that get generated each year, this may be the most important for aspiring undergraduates to watch.  Regardless of everything else a school might offer, great teaching is the most important benefit to the students.


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