A nationwide survey ranking 670 community colleges placed Barton Community College 591st overall, behind most other Kansas Community Colleges. Barton officials said the numbers don’t paint an accurate portrait of the college.
The survey by WalletHub.com also ranked Barton 476th for cost and finance, 646th for classroom experience, 150th for education outcomes and 469th for career outcomes.
The information can be found online at http://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-community-colleges/15076/ .
Highland Community College ranked below Barton at 656, but Hutchinson Community College was 185. Breaking the top 100 were Garden City Community College (54), Seward County Community College/Area Technical School in Liberal (46), and Colby Community College, (40).
Some of the information WalletHub used for its rankings came from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE, pronounced SESS-ee). That survey is a product of the Center for Community College Student Engagement. Barton also uses the survey to measure how well the college is meeting its objectives.
Evelyn N. Waiwaiole, Ph.D., director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement, said it is inappropriate to use CCSSE to rank community colleges. Waiwaiole said it is a long-standing policy of the Center to make its survey results available to the public. It is also a long-standing policy to oppose use of the survey results in ranking colleges.
“By participating in CCSSE ... community colleges like yours demonstrate a commitment to transparency with regard to institutional performance and to accountability for improvement of educational quality,” she said. “The Center has always and continues to maintain that each community college’s performance should be considered in terms of its mission, institutional focus and student characteristics. Because of differences in these areas – and variations in college resources – comparing survey results between individual institutions serves little constructive purpose.”
On the issue of cost and finance, BCC spokesman Brandon Steinert, director of public relations, commented, “WalletHub.com used a different set of metrics, but Community College Week ranked us 18th most affordable (relative to similarly sized colleges) about a year ago.” That survey can be found online at http://www.affordablecolleges.com/rankings/community-colleges/ . Community College Week also ranked Barton 22nd on a list of fastest growing community colleges: http://ccweek.com/article-4291-fastest-growing-community-colleges,-2014-rankings.html .
Barton Community College also publishes an annual Community Report which addresses several outcomes, such as industry certification pass rates and job placement. The report for 2014 can be found online at http://docs.bartonccc.edu/pr/documents/Report2014-101614-web.pdf.
WalletHub also noted the value of community colleges, which it said are “slowly stacking up against their traditional four-year counterparts. Schedule flexibility, rigorous coursework and smaller class sizes supply the majority of their appeal to first-time college entrants as well as to university students choosing to transfer to community colleges — an emerging trend that goes against the usual grain of transitioning from a two-year to a four-year institution.”