U.S. News defends online college rankings amid harsh criticism

“Of course, some questions will be refined; that’s just part of the process,” they wrote. “We learned a lot doing this for the first time, and some of that will shape next year’s questions.”

In a lengthy explanation of the magazine’s methodology for the college rankings, U.S. News says it was careful about who participated in its first ranking of online college programs.

For instance, schools that launched online course offerings for the 2011-12 academic year were removed from the survey results “because of their inabilities to supply a full academic year’s worth of data.”