How does the grading work?

For the 2011 report, our panel of experts evaluated each institution’s website in terms of three major factors: design, content, and usability. Then, we let you, the real user, submit your own grade. We then combine these four ratings to formulate a final, overall rating for each site.

Since we complete a new review each academic year, these grades are not permanent. As colleges update their sites to keep pace with the movement of the web, so too will we adjust our scores to reflect those changes.


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Overall Rating

Weighted equally between design, content, usability, and user rating, this is the ultimate grade that we assign to each site. This number is the final word on how successfully - or not - each academic institution has utilized its presence in the web space.

This number will fluctuate slightly as users like you submit your own ratings. Our grades depend on your input, so please feel empowered to weigh in.

Design Grade

The design grade reflects how well we think each school has visually laid out its page. Color choices, font, composition, and image selection are all taken into account here.

Content Grade

Content - the knowledge, information, and ideas presented to the viewer - is the foundation of any website. Here we determine the value of the info each site provides to its students.

Usability Grade

Design and content mean nothing if the user isn’t able to navigate his or her way around the page. This is where we decide how well a school has crafted a user-friendly experience.

User Rating

This is where you come in. The user rating is the average of all scores that have been submitted by users like you. So don’t be afraid to be honest: these schools really need your feedback.