The concept of a group of universities being better qualified than others has always existed within the stratification of higher education systems. Whereas at the top of the higher education hierarchy are first class universities, or rather, universities with the highest prestige and reputation, the institutions that provide democratic and universal access to higher education may be found at lower levels. Current essay argues that higher education reputation is being defined increasingly by national and international ranking systems. It also provides a history of the establishment and development of ranking instruments for higher education and highlights the transition towards a production of university reputation. Whereas in the past reputation was evaluated through a process of prestige accumulation and tradition, without the confirmation of any foregrounding data, this process is currently quantified and systematized by the introduction of tools to measure the institutions’ performance. The ensuing discussion also identifies the implications of the ranking system and identifies myths produced by these instruments that broadcast and compare university performance.
Moura, B. A., & Moura, L. B. A. (2013). Ranqueamento de universidades: reflexões acerca da construção de reconhecimento institucional - doi: 10.4025/actascieduc.v35i2.20400. Acta Scientiarum. Education, 35(2). https://doi.org/10.4025/actascieduc.v35i2.20400